UKC

ARTICLE: Diversity in Climbing - How You Can Help

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 UKC Articles 21 Jun 2021

GB Climbing Team coach and diversity programme developer Rachel Carr writes about the diversity problem in climbing, and shares ideas on how we can build a more actively inclusive sport.

When you walk into your local wall, how many people are there? Maybe 100 or so. How many of those faces are white? 40, 60, 95, maybe even 100? If you see someone from a different ethnicity, maybe Black, are they with other Black climbers, or are they surrounded by their white peers?

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113
 gooberman-hill 22 Jun 2021
In reply to UKC Articles:

I genuinely don't know what to make of this piece - it is clearly very well intentioned, and makes some good points, but it doesn't feel quite right. I also suspect that there hasn't been any response as yet because people are afraid of saying the wrong thing, and being labelled.

I think that my unease with this article is at least partially predicated on a feeling that it is trying to reshape history into a particular narrative, one built around race. 

Historically, climbing has often viewed itself in terms of class - a combination of the moneyed upper classes initially driving alpine exploration, and the working class heroes from the 1920's onwards. I'm not sure what response working class clubs like the Creag Dhu or the Ptarmigan clubs would have given to notions of "white privilege", but I'm pretty sure it wouldn't have been printable! 

That said, climbing is changing. When (on occasion) I go to some of the bigger London walls, like the Castle, I see a lot of diversity. When I go to the crag, I don't see nearly as much (but then again, I don't see many people away from the honeypot crags). Climbing seems to have got much more middle class since I started 40 years ago - I don't see nearly as many working class folk out on the crags, and I would say that the diversity I see at the walls is amongst middle class folks  - certainly all the BAME climbers I know are very solidly middle class.

I get the point about engaging with the communities around the crags and the walls. My local wall seems like a middle class oasis in a solidly working class area, and certainly doesn't seem representative of the local community. And as for engagement at the crag - when I started climbing in the Lancashire quarries 40 years ago, community engagement meant trying to stop them throwing rocks down at us!.

But I'm just not convinced that this is a race issue - it feels a lot more class based. I don't know what the answer is. Is there an issue with inclusivity - yes. There is definitely a gender bias in climbing, and there is most probably also a racial bias - but I'm just not convinced that structural racism is the cause - I think that this is most likely subordinate to the huge middle-class bias that definitely exists. 

Sadly, I'm not convinced that we are moving in the right direction to tackle this. The best moment to engage people and get them into climbing and the outdoors is when they are young. Imagine you are a 12 year old seeing Shauna Coxsey at the Olympics and getting inspired. Climbing walls are expensive, kids aren't welcome unless they have supervising adults, and the youth climbing clubs and lessons are often oversubscribed. The clubs don't want to know young people because of safeguarding concerns. It doesn't matter what colour your skin happens to be, unless you are fortunate enough to be in a middle class family, it is unlikely that you will have the support network around you to enable you to get into climbing.  

4
In reply to UKC Articles:

Interesting article and one I see having a great big assumption at its core; institutional UK racism: "Those who fall outside of the 'at-risk youth' or 'underprivileged' categories are not targeted. No one has spoken to the people that live on the streets surrounding the walls and shown them that they are welcome. And if no one is actively showing them, then we are passively, and often unintentionally, excluding them, since we are all still living and working in an institutionally racist society, as is evident in schools, employment and in the criminal justice system, to name but a few examples."

Hmm. Are we "all still living and working in an institutionally racist society, as is evident in schools, employment and in the criminal justice system?"

A certain government report said we are not. The report of the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities said in its foreword section: "We no longer see a Britain where the system is deliberately rigged against ethnic minorities. The impediments and disparities do exist, they are varied, and ironically very few of them are directly to do with racism. Too often ‘racism’ is the catch-all explanation, and can be simply implicitly accepted rather than explicitly examined."

It states: "The evidence shows that geography, family influence, socio-economic background, culture and religion have more significant impact on life chances than the existence of racism. That said, we take the reality of racism seriously and we do not deny that it is a real force in the UK."

Therefore I disagree with what I see is the core belief on which the article is based, that racism is the reason BAME people are under-represented in the UK climbing community.

I think secondary schools should encourage all their pupils to try sports, all sports, and that after that people who are inclined to try a particular sport should be encouraged and helped to do so. But leave it at that. There is no need to go beyond that and indulge in (what I think the writer is saying) white guilt and fight racism by getting more BAME people climbing. If they want to climb then great. If not, then equally great - there's more space on the indoor walls and outdoor cliffs for the rest of us.

Post edited at 13:32
18
In reply to gooberman-hill:

> I also suspect that there hasn't been any response as yet because people are afraid of saying the wrong thing, and being labelled.

Have you used UKC much?

2
In reply to UKC Articles:

run or support diversity-targeted sessions, either for beginners, improvers or training coaches. If people see sessions specifically for them then they may feel more welcome. Even better if these can be discounted, because if money is an issue for someone then they will be less likely to try it.

I think you might run into the Equality Act once you start pricing wall admission or coaching sessions based on skin colour. 

Looks like Climb Unity are doing just that, quite worrying really.

In reply to gooberman-hill:

This resonates.

One way diversity in climbing can be improved is by not seeing white people as a homogeneous collective. It alienates, over-generalises, and, provides fracture lines bad-faith actors can exploit.

Post edited at 14:22
2
In reply to gooberman-hill:

> I don't see nearly as many working class folk out on the crags, and I would say that the diversity I see at the walls is amongst middle class folks  - certainly all the BAME climbers I know are very solidly middle class.

I think part of the problem we have when discussing structural racism (and other kinds of institutionalised discrimination) in the UK is the terminology we seem to have adopted. I don't know that "BAME" is all that useful a term - certainly there seems to be no lack of Asian participation in climbing, as opposed to say those from deprived working class backgrounds (of any ethnic group).

2
In reply to UKC Articles:

I can’t speak for other walls here, but the centre I work at in Manchester certainly has no (obvious) issue with diversity. 
 

Memberships are spread fairly equally (amongst a broad spectrum of races - AND classes) and the ‘general crowd’ we get in most days is consistently just as mixed
 

Post edited at 14:28
1
In reply to UKC Articles:

Wonder if the fitness and flexibility from all that dancing will help in their climbing endeavours, good luck to the lads I say.

3
 LakesWinter 22 Jun 2021
In reply to Chris_Mellor:

"people who are inclined to try a particular sport should be encouraged and helped to do so. But leave it at that. There is no need to go beyond that and indulge in (what I think the writer is saying) white guilt and fight racism by getting more BAME people climbing. If they want to climb then great. If not, then equally great - there's more space on the indoor walls and outdoor cliffs for the rest of us."

Yeah, this is basically a good summary. Lots of other good points on this thread too. What does it matter if someone goes climbing or not really? Surely it matters more if they are a kind person.

Post edited at 14:36
1
 Olaf Prot 22 Jun 2021
In reply to UKC Articles:

Oh good grief, where do I start? Let's just sew more seeds of division shall we? Let's see everything through the prism of race, and make everyone who isn't white a victim? Why is it that whenever the proportion of minorities in any given measure is not exactly equal to their representation in society the automatic response is cries of "Wacist! Wacist!"??

"No one is actually reaching out to the communities themselves"; "We haven't been offered anything even close to this before", and "Climbing isn't an option at these schools/colleges".

Yep, all whitey's fault, not up to the communities to find out anything for themselves  is it?

Why is it that no one is actually bothering to talk to these communities?

Yep,  whitey's fault again.

 But why haven't they been offered the same access to education as some others have? Why are more groups not offered opportunities to try climbing?

I hadn't realised education was segregated along racial lines, which is what you are suggesting if these statements are intended to support your thesis?

And if no one is actively showing them, then we are passively, and often unintentionally, excluding them, since we are all still living and working in an institutionally racist society, as is evident in schools, employment and in the criminal justice system, to name but a few examples.

Er, except our society is not institutionally racist and you do yourself a disservice by casually throwing in these tired old tropes. I note the author's job is "diversity programme developer" ...when all you have is a hammer, not surprisingly every problem is a nail.

Post edited at 15:55
26
 Qwerty2019 22 Jun 2021
In reply to UKC Articles:

Whats the proportion of BAME coaches on the GB coaching team?

11
 Olaf Prot 22 Jun 2021
In reply to Qwerty2019:

More importantly, a quick look at the BMC board suggests it is almost entirely "white" and with a significant majority of males...so I can only draw the conclusion that the BMC itself is institutionally sexist and racist.

2
In reply to Shani:

As a corollary to my earlier point, I often reflect on the phenomena of Learned Helplessness; I wonder what the impact is of repeatedly telling quite broad groups that they are 'oppressed' and that structural unfairness blights their lives?

4
In reply to Chris_Mellor:

> A certain government report said we are not. The report of the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities said...

And that wasn't in the slightest politically controversial was it? I'm not sure whether using CRED report lends much cred in any direction.

12
 Chris Shepherd 22 Jun 2021
In reply to gooberman-hill:

> When (on occasion) I go to some of the bigger London walls, like the Castle, I see a lot of diversity. When I go to the crag, I don't see nearly as much (but then again, I don't see many people away from the honeypot crags). Climbing seems to have got much more middle class since I started 40 years ago

Nail, head. I was thinking about this the other day in the context of queer representation. While the climbing wall seems reasonably diverse, representation at the crag is really normative without a whole lot of space for other ways of being.

If someone had a theory for why that's the case, I would love to hear it!

Post edited at 18:29
1
In reply to TobyA:

> And that wasn't in the slightest politically controversial was it? I'm not sure whether using CRED report lends much cred in any direction.

Well yes, indeed.

"Government finds government not institutionally racist."

9
 scot1 22 Jun 2021
In reply to UKC Articles:

None of the climbing walls give any discount if you’re white and there’s a similar lack of bias with grades outdoors. It’s rubbish, keen to exploit my white privileged advantage while it lasts but I’m unable to.

21
 freeheel47 22 Jun 2021
In reply to UKC Articles:

Today on UKC.

1. Sabrina Verjee sets new Wainwrights record.

2. This.

Other threads on this have mysteriously disappeared.  I really hate being patronised, almost as much as I hate casual 1970's racism (I am brown).

I'm quite sure that Sabrina would be really f*cked off if anyone commented on her ethnicity. Because it is of absolutely no relevance whatsoever.

"This" is really patronising. I'm sure that Rachel had no intention to be patronising- but there you are.

Some thoughts. BAME is a meaningless and again patronising term. It makes as many assumptions as any other racial stereotype. "You" a) exist as a group of others and b) are all the same. Bollocks.

Equality and non-discrimination are all people actually want. That's it.

I don't want special treatment any more now than I wanted to be spat at, taunted or abused by random people as a teenager on the Tube in London circa 1980-86 .

Funnily enough I was at an (online) conference earlier this month when on the morning of the second day one of the great and the good appeared to apologise for not having a diverse speaker group. I wrote a rather strong response. It was patronising, I don't want to be on a podium because I am brown thank-you very much- I want to be there because I am good and have something interesting to say (funnily enough I'm presenting somethings tomorrow at another online conference- same organisation, of the three speakers we are all brown- but that is really not the point). Who would they rather not have had speaking.

Personally I'd rather stick needles in my eyes or cut off my genitals with a rusty farm implement that  go to a 'special session' for brown people.

Of course a funny reaction to saying this sort of thing is to be "unblacked" or called an:  "Uncle Tom", "Oreo", "Coconut", or "Bounty Bar". Nice.

And another thing.  If people really want to go on about this then David Badiel's observation that "Jews don't count" is worth thinking about. I made that point about the conference too. But who's ever heard of a Jewish psychiatrist?

What on earth has happened to the sentiments expressed by Martin Luther King ; "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character."

and Haile Selassie: "that until the colour of a man's skin is of no more significance than the colour of his eyes"?

That's all I want for me, my kids and everyone else.

Post edited at 18:52
4
In reply to Chris Shepherd:

> While the climbing wall seems reasonably diverse, representation at the crag is really normative without a whole lot of space for other ways of being.

In what sense is there not enough  "space"?

> If someone had a theory for why that's the case, I would love to hear it!

I get the impression that climbing wall use is more diverse than climbing outdoors in every way. I have no idea whether that is due to barriers or just the nature of the activities. Or maybe, with most climbers these days starting indoors, diversity just hasn't had time to filter through yet.

More generally, climbing indoors or out is usually expensive. Money is by far the most obvious barrier I would have thought.

2
 scot1 22 Jun 2021
In reply to freeheel47:
Aren’t you grateful for the help from a white person though? How kind of them to put a scheme in place to help people like you. No, thought not, it’s patronising as 

8
 scot1 22 Jun 2021
In reply to Robert Durran:

The Creag Dhu would have felt much more included if there had been a similar campaign aimed at working class males. For some reason they just went out and did it, weird

3
In reply to UKC Articles:

Isn’t this article a bit, you know, racist? Racism masquerading as anti-racism perhaps?

I was thought never to judge a book by its cover, I.e. not to judge a person by the colour of their skin. That to me is at the core of how we should act as a society.

This article judges people by the colour of their skin, assumes they all face the same problems and challenges and then goes on to talk about how UKC readers (predominantly white men) can help them… Did someone not do a cold read of it?

There’s a valid point to make around access to climbing and how it’s dominated by ex-university mountaineering club members (who tend to be white and male), but the article is way wide of the mark.

If UKC really wanted to do something about diversity in climbing why don’t you try to partner city youth groups with climbing walls? A few percent from guidebook sales would cover the cost of wall entry for the kids.

3
 freeheel47 22 Jun 2021
In reply to scot1:

Thanks- I wondered about a "white Saviour" narrative.  But for all I know Rachel is not white. Also it is the same sort of bollocks as the rest of it- oh the irony. Just checked yes Rachel is white.  Thanks Rachel. Perhaps a "I am sorry if I offended you" comment might help? Or not.

Unfortunately: “It is difficult to get a (wo)man to understand something, when his/her salary depends on his not understanding it.” (Upton Sinclair- a white man as it happens).

Post edited at 19:37
1
 scot1 22 Jun 2021
In reply to freeheel47:

I’m sure Rachel feels good that whilst she is in an extremely privileged position she can still reach out a hand to help up those in a less fortunate position than her. Let’s get quotas for climbing and anything outdoors,, that’ll make us white people feel really benevolent 

9
 freeheel47 22 Jun 2021
In reply to UKC Articles:

"I can't even begin to imagine what it would be like to ......not see one person that I can even remotely relate to. ............. I'm not saying that if we don't share the same skin tone or religion we can't be friends"

Really?  RROFLMAO.

​​​"someone might ask where you are really from" - in fairness to Rachel- top tip- don't do thinks it really f*cks people off.

2
In reply to freeheel47:

> Equality and non-discrimination are all people actually want. That's it.

Which "people" is that? Having just said that "BAME is a meaningless and again patronising term", how do you know exactly what other people want?

But that's by the by - I'm more interested in what you mean by equality. Surely the thrust of this article is about trying to get equality of opportunity for all people to get into climbing? On the day that we get news like https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-57565364 I suspect most of us would be willing to accept that making sure all people get the chance to try out a pretty niche sport is probably very far down the list of pressing social issues, but if equality is "all" people want then surely that form of equality has to be part of it?

17
In reply to freeheel47:

The author is white. Rachel Carr (she/ her) is on Instagram, where you can clearly see the colour of her skin.

Post edited at 19:58
1
 freeheel47 22 Jun 2021
In reply to TobyA:

Ahh a paradox! 

Perhaps it's what I think all people should want. Meaning all humans. I think it is what people would want for themselves if they had no idea of what their individual characteristics were, that in any given time or place might or might not make them different in any way from most people around them. I am a big fan of John Rawls.

I am all for equality of opportunity and that is an excellent point. But I strongly suspect that a 'diversity gap' in climbing is about economic problems for some and exposure to outdoor activities in general rather than race and that this would be found in disadvantaged groups around the UK (i.e. working class / multigenerational unemployed white men / youth).

P.S. I also Tele (Gold in the GB Championships Team Classic two years in a row as it happens, teams of four- the three fastest times are taken, 'nuff said). The GB telemark championships are an interesting case in point. Most of the attendees are from the military plus some civvies plus a few University OTC. What was the diversity like? Not very.  Me, another civvie medic, my eldest son (who has comparatively pale skin and blue eyes- like his and my mum- occasionally this has lead to 'he can't be your son' type comments- oh the fun we've had) a few military including a few officers.  Was this a problem for anyone at all?  Absolutely not. Was I treated with and did I treat everyone else with the same disrespect? Yes.

Post edited at 20:23
1
 Chris Shepherd 22 Jun 2021
In reply to Robert Durran:

> In what sense is there not enough  "space"?

I didn't phrase that well. I was just trying to say that representation on the whole is pretty lacking IMO.

> More generally, climbing indoors or out is usually expensive. Money is by far the most obvious barrier I would have thought.

A good point.

Post edited at 20:17
 freeheel47 22 Jun 2021
In reply to TobyA:

Getting back to equality of opportunity. This is key. I'm very much in favour of equality of opportunity. The article wasn't about equality of opportunity for all people though and it made all kinds of awful and patronising statements.

Issues with equality of opportunity and climbing- I think that routes into climbing have narrowed with the closure of education authority outdoor centres, the difficulties in taking school trips, liability, general risk aversion, money. Which is tragic. Getting young men who like pushing themselves and doing slightly dangerous things to do prosocial slightly dangerous things, that make them fit and concentrate and trust people and get outdoors and healthy might just be a good idea, whatever they look like.

1
 scot1 22 Jun 2021

In a position of huge privilege, she can achieve anything she wants. A BAME person needs her help if they’re to succeed 

10
In reply to freeheel47:

Do you know Andrew Clarke? I believe who was both in the UK tele team for a bit and then might have managed it? Also military. I went to school with him! We're FB friends now although I haven't seen him in person in yonks - but I always found it odd that two kids from a small town comp in Worcestershire ended up getting into telemark, which is after all a pretty niche bit of skiing - in itself a past-time where Worcestershire (like most of England) isn't really the best place to come from to get into!

I think that it is really hard (and increasingly becoming even harder) to disentangle ethnicity, culture (and probably other identity markers) from socio-economic class. So who gets to try climbing (or I think more importantly - the quality of antenatal and maternity care women receive in the NHS) isn't ever going to be 'a race thing' or 'a class/economics thing' alone because they are so intertwined. Although on the bright side, it may well mean that if you run a programme that is aimed at giving more kids from deprived areas a chance to climb you're likely to get an increase in kids from some ethnic minorities involved and vice versa.

 owensum 22 Jun 2021
In reply to gooberman-hill:

> Climbing seems to have got much more middle class since I started 40 years ago - I don't see nearly as many working class folk out on the crags, and I would say that the diversity I see at the walls is amongst middle class folks  - certainly all the BAME climbers I know are very solidly middle class.

That is because society at large has become much more middle class.

 Flinticus 22 Jun 2021
In reply to UKC Articles:

Well, the opening paragraphs grate.

100 at the wall. Why suggest the crazy low fugure of maybe 40, 60 white? At my local, given how mixed society is I'd expect to see at least c90% white and that's assuming equal representation in unis where many boulderers and climbers start and also assuming an equal family legacy of climbing as many of the young there are brought by climbing parents.  Tonight with less than covid capacity BAME (apologies for its use as I agree its a blanket unhelpful term) were over-represented (so most of the regs were watching the footie!).

Of course I'm going to see mainly white faces. The crowd at my local wall is not, however, reflective of my local streets. A notable near absence of anyone over 40, or overweight or 'lower' class. 

So the opening gets people defensive. Could do better.

3
In reply to Chris Shepherd:

Speaking as a cis straight white male from a moderately well off background, but who grew up in a poor, inner city area in London with limited exposure to the countryside, moving from climbing inside to outside still meant entering a space which was largely foreign to me. I did find this intimidating. 

However, I recognised that the people in it were largely like me. I can't imagine the increased trepidation I might have felt were that not the case, but I think it would have existed. 

I think sometimes to feel welcome, in any space, can require an invitation or at least an indicator that it is space in which people like oneself can exist. 

And frankly, wednesday at some sport crags can feel like a space only for late middle aged, white men who like to talk about their mortgages. 

25
mysterion 22 Jun 2021
In reply to UKC Articles:

Yawn

11
 olddirtydoggy 22 Jun 2021
In reply to freeheel47:

I pretty much quoted most of your comment in another thread some weeks back after having a chat with a British, Pakistani Muslim friend who strongly condemned much of the sentiments on these kinds of articles and was told on here that my experience was anecdotal and that as a white privileged male I've got no idea what I'm talking about. I'm lucky to have a very diverse set of friends of whom many find this approach deeply offensive and patronising.

Don't shoot the messenger.

1
 waitout 23 Jun 2021
In reply to UKC Articles:

I like the intention but am not sure it's an exclusion thing. Look at the age demographics alone and compare what various subgroups in those age brackets choose to do with their time. Maybe non-white teenagers aren't at the wall because they're into other stuff. My kids non-white and her tribe fill the libraries, dance clubs, tricking clubs and martial arts schools.

It may in large part be that racially/culturally different groups don't climb much because they have other options that fill the need to grunt, flex and sweat at each other.

Of course be friendly to people wherever you go, but the world isn't one homogenous blend of ethnic ratios where one niche needs to be representative of the whole and climbing needs to be the barometer of society. Maybe climbing simply is a white thing (in the UK, it's obviously not in China, Japan etc) just as the majority at a mahjong club are Asian.

For what it's worth I fit the racial stereotype and don't feel particularly drawn to the climbing community indoors or at popular crags, and it's not a race thing.

Post edited at 00:19
In reply to UKC Articles:

What we could do with to get some more diversity in climbing is more artificial boulders in public parks (with sand round them and not too high)  and a few free to use public bolted structures like the old flak towers in some German and Austrian cities.   That would let city dwellers without money for wall entrance charges, or cars to get to a crag, or a ton of trad equipment get some climbing in and it would be fun for all climbers when the sun is out.

There is very definitely a money issue in terms of access to climbing and hillwalking for city dwellers.  There's also a completely reasonable preference among different groups for different sports.  The only time ethnicity becomes a problem is if the sport isn't welcoming towards a particular group.

1
 Richard Horn 23 Jun 2021
In reply to UKC Articles:

I think maybe its worth asking why people get into climbing into the first place. For me it was chance, a friend asked me (back when I was 22) if I was interested in going on a learn to climb course, I instantly loved it and ended up becoming quite obsessive. Up to that point I was really only interested in dinghy sailing, and had it not been for that offer, I would probably never have discovered climbing (and more importantly the social group I met through it).

Given there is no school route into climbing, I suspect most people come across climbing by "chance", an invitation by a friend, a random sign up to a uni club (ok I am seeing the middle class thing there...), or alternatively from parents. This is likely not to result in a diverse mix of people, however thats different from implying that ethnic minorities are effectively being barriered out deliberately or by peoples inbuilt racism.

For me I would be happy to see trips to the climbing wall provided in the odd PE class at school... 

 JRS81 23 Jun 2021
In reply to UKC Articles:

It's rather worrying to look at the general theme of responses here. I had considered the climbing community to be generally quite inclusive even if that doesn't necessarily translate into diversity, but reading through all of this, it seems there's a huge amount of bile and vitriol against any concept of inclusivity. Hopefully the rising popularity of climbing as a result of the Olympics and social media will see an rise in a younger population in the climbing world and this will push the aging, angry middle-class white folk that have been so riled up by this article into a minority that will ultimately fade away...

61
 Richard Horn 23 Jun 2021
In reply to JRS81:

How do you know the people responding are white, middle class or old?

3
In reply to Richard Horn:

> How do you know the people responding are white, middle class or old?

And I can't see any "bile and vitriol against any concept of inclusivity". 

1
In reply to JRS81:

> It's rather worrying to look at the general theme of responses here. I had considered the climbing community to be generally quite inclusive even if that doesn't necessarily translate into diversity, but reading through all of this, it seems there's a huge amount of bile and vitriol against any concept of inclusivity. 

UKC Strawman of the Year contender here.

7
 JRS81 23 Jun 2021
In reply to Robert Durran:

"Yep, all whitey's fault, not up to the communities to find out anything for themselves  is it?"

After only a few comments in, and more with a similar though more toned down response. Yeah, you're right I am probably exaggerating, but I was a bit surprised by the fact that counting up responses that are 'against' the premise of the article or the concept of diversity in climbing compared to those that are either indifferent or agree in some way with the article, it was more than 50% against. I know this is all anonymous armchair ranting, and the people making these comments probably aren't like that in real life, but it's still rather disappointing to see all the same. 

In a nutshell, yeah, my comment is perhaps a bit of armchair ranting and a bit extreme, but it's based on genuine disappointment at seeing the resistance to the very idea of reflection and change in the climbing community...

30
In reply to JRS81:

I don't think anyone posting is against inclusivity; just questioning how it can or should be achieved.

2
In reply to Robert Durran:

I'm confident that anyone posting an "anti-inclusive" comment on UKC would be hammered with downvotes.

1
 RobAJones 23 Jun 2021
In reply to Richard Horn:

> For me I would be happy to see trips to the climbing wall provided in the odd PE class at school... 

North Lakes might not be typical but most school here do, and at least 3 use climbing as an option in GCSE PE. Even during my training in Manchester (early 90's) both my teaching practise school did some climbing lessons and in those days the "walls" were a few bricks sticking out. 

Post edited at 11:45
In reply to JRS81:

It's not resistance at all. This article like most before it, confuse equal opportunities to participate, with equal representation. They aren't the same thing. 

4
 JRS81 23 Jun 2021
In reply to Robert Durran:

I think you may be ignoring quite a few responses there. You are right, there are plenty of people genuinely questioning how inclusivity can be achieved, and that's great. What is also there is a certain amount of denial of the problem, people holding up the thoroughly discredited government reports of late to 'prove' that there's no problem, and a shift towards the idea that class is the big problem and not ethnicity which appears to be the current governments strategy for avoiding facing up to the problem. There's certainly an element of class affecting the groups of people who get the opportunity to take up climbing, and this is something that we should probably all think about and try to address, but it's not directly correlated with the issues in the article and should probably be looked at in parallel. 

Anyway, once again, I apologise for my rather ranty response earlier, but I still don't think you can read the responses on here and not see a strong resistance to premise of the article itself. I just don't understand why everyone is trying to deny that there's a problem when it's so plain to see. If you simply don't care then that's fine, but in that case, why comment?

23
In reply to JRS81:

> I just don't understand why everyone is trying to deny that there's a problem when it's so plain to see. If you simply don't care then that's fine, but in that case, why comment?

Is anyone denying there is a problem of lack of opportunity to participate in climbing?

I can't speak for others but it's the implied "collective guilt" angle that I find alienating. Broad brushes and all that.

Post edited at 11:56
2
 JRS81 23 Jun 2021
In reply to summo:

"This article like most before it, confuse equal opportunities to participate, with equal representation."

I think there's a problem with that argument. Why would there not be some level of equal representation if there were an equality of opportunity? Are you saying that black people don't like climbing when they try it and therefore don't return? If so, why might that be? Could it be that premise of lack of representation making certain groups feel excluded, or do you think there's another reason? I don't think opportunity and representation are are mutually exclusive issues and they both need to be looked at simultaneously. There's no quick win here, but denial shouldn't be an acceptable option...

18
 JRS81 23 Jun 2021
In reply to Shani:

"I can't speak for others but it's the implied "collective guilt" angle that I find alienating"

I didn't find any concept of collective guilt implied in the article, but that's a moot point. Guilt is not a useful concept here. I don't think there are many people if any who are 'guilty' of creating the state of affairs that we have now, but you can't look at the climbing community and deny that it is not as diverse as it could be so we now have an opportunity to work to change that however we ended up where we are. We don't all have to be involved, if some people don't like it then they can just ignore it, but there's no need to resist something that ultimately has no personal impact on them...

14
In reply to UKC Articles:

Slightly off topic, but does anyone know what the boulder problem is in the first picture?  It look awesome.

In reply to JRS81:

> I didn't find any concept of collective guilt implied in the article, but that's a moot point.

"No one has spoken to the people that live on the streets surrounding the walls and shown them that they are welcome. And if no one is actively showing them, then we are passively, and often unintentionally, excluding them, since we are all still living and working in an institutionally racist society...You've probably seen a bunch of people on your feed posting that well-meaning black square, and you may have even done so yourself. But, did you see the backlash from it? Did you see all of the Black people shouting to be listened to and not blacked out? They don't want to know you've noticed. They want you to do better, to educate yourself, to listen and learn.

Educate yourself in the history of our country."

Looks like some demographics are being accused of 'excluding', 'not listening', and being ignorant of history. 

I could go on about the racism I experienced as one of only 2 English kids at a school in Deiniolen in the 70s (attacked and spat at), or I could list the number of non-whites I've introduced to climbing, or show you my wedding photos (of my closest 5 friends only 1 is white), but as a white, English bloke I guess I need to check my privilege.

I'll leave it to the middle-classes to self flagellate and I'll just get on with trying to be a good person.

Post edited at 12:31
6
 Arms Cliff 23 Jun 2021
In reply to Somerset swede basher:

> Slightly off topic, but does anyone know what the boulder problem is in the first picture?  It look awesome.

https://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/crags/queens_crag-1037/world_line-61071
 

it is awesome. 

 freeheel47 23 Jun 2021
In reply to TobyA:

Dare I say I agree with everything you've said? Damn- yes I dare.  And there I was hoping for an argument.....wanders off and mutters to self.

Andrew Clarke- if he is a) big b) in the Royal Marines c) about 50 d) a mountain leader then yes I think so. Especially if he has a helmet painted with a Union Jack by the same people that did the Red Arrows helmets. (Rather oddly I have a Smeg fridge with a massive Union Jack on it- why? Because I think those symbols of national identity / unity need to be taken back from the Nazi yobs, also it looks cool).

 freeheel47 23 Jun 2021
In reply to olddirtydoggy:

It is tricky, a bit of a tight rope for you and almost impossible not to fall off- perhaps unless your significant other is not white.

 freeheel47 23 Jun 2021
In reply to Shani:

there is a lot alienating in the article. 

For brown people like me with statements like brown people can't "even remotely relate to" people who aren't brown. What utter patronising cock.

For not brown people with almost everything else.

I think the whole tone is:

a) patronising to people who look like me

b) grossly insulting to people on UKC who don't look like me

and so it is totally counter productive. Hence the ranty posts by almost everyone. 

I suspect that the whole thread will;

a) disappear

b) then be used to prove how racist you all are- which I do not for one second believe.

I'm fairly sure that almost everyone on UKC;

a) isn't racist

b) values diversity

c) would actively welcome anyone who was interested / nice / had a go

d) recognises that climbing is pretty white

e) wonders a bit why this might be

1
In reply to JRS81:

> "This article like most before it, confuse equal opportunities to participate, with equal representation."

> I think there's a problem with that argument. Why would there not be some level of equal representation if there were an equality of opportunity? 

Wealth, social class, family background, cultural norms, tradition, religion....

> but denial shouldn't be an acceptable option...

It's not denial, it's accepting we are all different with a multitude of vastly different influences; no sport or pastime will entirely represent a society's structure. It's accepting difference whilst insuring opportunity exists that creates an equal society. 

2
In reply to JohnSutherland:

> "This article like most before it, confuse equal opportunities to participate, with equal representation."

> I think there's a problem with that argument. Why would there not be some level of equal representation if there were an equality of opportunity? 

For the same reason that more brown Indian people play cricket compared to white Polish people in the UK. 

Expecting a perfect distribution of race, age, eye colour, height, weight or whatever else among hobbies is unrealistic and absurd.

The premise that a non perfect balance of attributes within an arbitrary group is indicative of racism is an offensive premise to pretty much any group that exists. That could be as arbitrary as fans of rap music or Star Trek or any other random collective of people you care to think about. 

If there are barriers to people taking part in the sport then they should be dismantled, but feeling uncomfortable around people who are different isn't good enough I'm afraid. Genuine equality doesn't look like black and white only climbing walls and crags, or discounts based on the colour of a person's skin as the author suggests. That's not the opposite of racism, that's literally the definition of racism and a retrograde step. 

3
 mark s 23 Jun 2021
In reply to JRS81:

Out of all the different groups of people I have worked with, hung out with, being friends with. Climbers are by far and away the most accepting people I know.

The issue is these climbers then being told the sport and people they love isn't accepting enough of different races. 

In reply to freeheel47:

If you are ever in the Peak and in need of a partner, hit me up with a DM! 

I think that a much more productive approach by the BMC would be to ask how we can lower the barriers to entry in climbing. 

If you keep the problem quite general you can probably reach MOST demographics with a broad plan (such as getting climbing on the PE curriculum, volunteering with Youth Clubs etc...). 

After you've tried this broad approach you can then crunch the numbers to see if prejudice accounts for any disparity and tackle it accordingly. 

This would be much more constructive than diagnosing racism from the outset and forcing the prescription on the demographic you deem responsible.

1
 JRS81 23 Jun 2021
In reply to mark s:

"Out of all the different groups of people I have worked with, hung out with, being friends with. Climbers are by far and away the most accepting people I know.

The issue is these climbers then being told the sport and people they love isn't accepting enough of different races. "

Totally agree on the first point which is why I find it so disappointing to read some of the comments on this and other articles/topics on the subject. 

As to climbers being told the sport and people aren't accepting enough I think is to miss the point. It's not that the sport is not accepting, it's that from the outside looking in, it does not appear to be so. You're right, should people of other backgrounds walk through the door, they would probably find nearly all of the people they meet to be accepting and encouraging, but there's the problem - getting people to walk through the door in the first place. There always seems to be an assumption that any article of this sort is saying that 'climbers are racists' when that is not the case, they are simply recognising that there is a lack of diversity in the sport and looking at how that can be addressed.

To the previous comment about seeking perfect balance, yes you're right, we should not always look for a perfect balance in all things as that is not really feasible, but when things are very heavily skewed in a particular direction for no reason, then we would be wrong not to look into why that might be...

22
In reply to JRS81:

>  but when things are very heavily skewed in a particular direction for no reason

What if the reasons are wealth, cultural heritage, family influences, tradition etc..  ie influences that are from a person's own background?

Ask a person of Indian or Pakistani heritage in Bradford would they rather be a GB climber or play cricket for Yorkshire I'm sure you know in advance what the answer would be?! 

2
 Jon Greengrass 23 Jun 2021
In reply to summo:

> Ask a person of Indian or Pakistani heritage in Bradford would they rather be a GB climber or play cricket for Yorkshire I'm sure you know in advance what the answer would be?!

Racism 

25
 ChipCashew 23 Jun 2021
In reply to UKC Articles:

“these groups don't get involved because they either don't feel safe or welcomed, or because they just don't know how.” This really sums up the patronising tone of the piece. 

‘White GB coach thinks non-whites are too stupid to even know how to start climbing without the help of whites.’ A perfect example of the bigotry of low expectations. Do better Carr. 

4
 JRS81 23 Jun 2021
In reply to summo:

"Ask a person of Indian or Pakistani heritage in Bradford would they rather be a GB climber or play cricket for Yorkshire I'm sure you know in advance what the answer would be?! "

So are we saying that because we think they'd rather play cricket, we shouldn't worry about letting them give climbing a go? I know that's a stretch of your argument, but it's not a huge stretch. Yes, perhaps this is all a waste of time and people from other backgrounds just aren't interested and don't want to be involved, but from my experience that's just not the case and some of those growing groups mentioned at the end of the article show that it is not the case. Shouldn't we at least give people the opportunity to see for themselves?

14
In reply to JRS81:

> So are we saying that because we think they'd rather play cricket, we shouldn't worry about letting them give climbing a go?

Your use of "we" and "worry" smacks of White Saviour Complex.

7
 JRS81 23 Jun 2021
In reply to Shani:

I don't really see what other terms can be used when referring to the example given. "We" are the climbing community repeatedly referred to before, and "they" are the specific example of a group of people given in the comment to which I was referring. There should be no inference there.

3
 Tom Valentine 23 Jun 2021
In reply to JRS81:

> . Shouldn't we at least give people the opportunity to see for themselveves?

People already have the opportunity.

They are electing not to take it up for any number of reasons.

If the reasons are financial I wouldn't be against helping them out where necessary.

If the reasons are cultural from within those groups we are better off leaving well alone.

2
 freeheel47 23 Jun 2021
In reply to Jon Greengrass:

tricky- a stereotype for sure, but racist?- but The Reverend Bayes would put a lot of money on the outcome of the questions to anyone in Yorkshire saying cricket when asked this question- and more on a member of those groups.  But it wouldn't be a dead cert- 

Bayesian statistics is in the news- although it is a couple of hundred years old and not obscure as an Observer journalist recently asserted (I guess all statistics are obscure to journalists- who are all pretty much illiterate vis maths / science) https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/apr/18/obscure-maths-bayes-theorem-reliability-covid-lateral-flow-tests-probability

1
In reply to JRS81:

> So are we saying that because we think they'd rather play cricket, we shouldn't worry about letting them give climbing a go?

> Shouldn't we at least give people the opportunity to see for themselves?

How are “we” not letting people try climbing, or depriving them of the opportunity to do so?

When, many years ago, I used to climb at Leeds wall there were various youth groups that rocked up from time to time. Occasionally you saw:

1. Groups of 'white working class' lads (identifiable by local accent and 'chav' dress sense);

2. Groups of Asian lads (identifiable by the obvious).

It was the white working class groups that got the sideways glances and hostility from the predominantly white middle class climbers, (the Asian lads just got freaked out by all the well-meaning advice and attention).

Other than just being kind and friendly to everybody, as most people are, just what are “we” supposed to be doing differently?

3
 vortech1234 23 Jun 2021
In reply to UKC Articles:

Does no one understand that there are low numbers of non white people in the UK? Maybe 1 in 5. 
 

It should not be expected that there’s equally amount of white/non white people around especially true out of the big cities. Why is there a push to do social engineering now.

let’s look through colour and focus on wanting to participate and enjoy climbing. 

3
 Tom Valentine 23 Jun 2021
In reply to vortech1234:

>  Why is there a push to do social engineering now.

Because it's someone's job to do so.

I'm sure other bodies have diversity consultants/advisers  but it would be interesting to find out which.

1
In reply to Jon Greengrass:

> Racism 

Yorkshire is superior, just ask any lancastrian. 

1
In reply to UKC Articles:

Why is everybody so defensive? Why does an attempt to be proactive garner so much rage? I understand the knee-jerk "well I'm not privileged" but that misses the whole point of what white privilege is. The talk of equality of opportunity also misses what "opportunity" really means.

It would be amazing to live in MLK's imagined world, but we don't. We can only move our part of world in the right direction. To expect this to happen passively is naive. Proactively creating opportunity for a few kids (whoever they are) who otherwise wouldn't, will create parents who might just remember their experience climbing, perhaps in the outdoors, when they raise their kids. Then we might start approaching equality of opportunity. 

Rachel's message style might not be to everyone's taste (I thought it was fine) but the subject and sentiment are positive and, in my opinion, warranted. 

I hope a few people can see past that knee jerk reaction, that offended reflex, and think about the subject instead.

Tim

28
 Tom Valentine 23 Jun 2021
In reply to timparkin:

>  Why does an attempt to be proactive garner so much rage?

Just as someone had to concede earlier that there has been no "bile or vitriol" in this debate, neither  has there been any "rage".

If you wonder why people are being defensive, perhaps it's because others are deliberately misconstruing the tone of the debate. and making out that opposition  to the principle is stronger than it really is.

4
 LakesWinter 24 Jun 2021
In reply to timparkin:

Did you know the term white privilage came from an 'academic' paper written in 1989 by an upper class, white woman in New York who wrote about her own life experience of being white and extremely privilaged. She made 10 points that she felt 'white' people could do that other ethnic groups could not. Really these were 10 things she could do because she was rich and influential that most people could not regardless of race. E.g buy a house in a neughbourhood they want to live in. Note that this 'paper' contained no research whatsoever, it just came from within her own head about her own life. It was a diary. 

Now, I'm not saying racism isnt a real and serious issue, it is. But the term white privilage applied blanket to all white people is nonsense.

4
In reply to timparkin:

The only person who we definitely know on this thread is non-white is Freeheel47. S/he describes the tone of the article as 'patronising'. S/he goes on to say s/he is "fairly sure that almost everyone on UKC isn't racist, values diversity, would actively welcome anyone who was interested / nice / had a go, ecognises that climbing is pretty white, wonders a bit why this might be".

I don't want to over-generalise his/her view (other non-whites will have a different opinions), but perhaps everyone on this thread should digest what s/he has written?

Post edited at 08:06
2
 JRS81 24 Jun 2021
In reply to Tom Valentine:

"Just as someone had to concede earlier that there has been no "bile or vitriol" in this debate"

Now that's not strictly true - I said that it was unfair to use the terms to describe the majority of comments, however I did also provide examples of where that had been some rather bileous responses. Yes, I concede that most of the responses were simply denials of the existence of a problem or held other negative views, but clearly if you read back through the comments, the general attitude on here is either that there isn't a problem, or if there is one that we shouldn't be doing anything about it anyway. At best the solution people keep putting forwards is the youth groups that used to exist in the eighties (great, but they were all shut down due to lack of funding decades ago), or incorporating climbing into PE lessons (totally agree with this, but again, due to lack of funding in education this too is a bit of a non-starter). I'm now going to anticipate the next response saying something like, 'ok, well what do you suggest we do' and the answer starts with, read the latter half of the article since that's exactly what it's about!!

21
 Tom Valentine 24 Jun 2021
In reply to JRS81:

          Simply denying or demurring  something is not a bilious reaction, so I stand by my original assertion: there has been no bile, vitriol or rage in this debate and claiming that the tone has been such is likely to be counterproductive.

1
In reply to LakesWinter:

> Did you know the term white privilage came from an 'academic' paper written in 1989 by an upper class, white woman in New York who wrote about her own life experience of being white and extremely privilaged.

Words and Creator != Concept

1
 JRS81 24 Jun 2021
In reply to Tom Valentine:

" Simply denying or demurring  something is not a bilious reaction, so I stand by my original assertion: there has been no bile, vitriol or rage in this debate and claiming that the tone has been such is likely to be counterproductive."

Can I point you in the direction of the 10th comment to start with? There are a handful of others after that too, but yes I gladly concede that these are not the majority, hence my retraction. I do stand by the point that the majority of comments are in some way negative towards the concepts of inclusion and diversity, or are straight out denials that there is anything wrong.

8
 Jono.r23 24 Jun 2021
In reply to Richard Horn:

This and an above post.

I think more outdoor park boulders and school climbing activities are really key to opening up climbing as a visible option (more so than specific clubs for P.O.C) 

When i grew up there was none of this.. i thought u had to have a rack of gear, ropes, a car, a partner..and obviously had no idea how to do it or use any of the stuff so i came to it very late. I think there is defo the confounding issue of class and opportunity in the mix here too.

 LakesWinter 24 Jun 2021
In reply to timparkin:

Concepts require evidence though and to say that all white people are privilaged in the ways she outlined in that paper is just not true and actually throwing terms like that around is divisive and does nothing to tackle the core causes of racism.

1
In reply to LakesWinter:

> Concepts require evidence though and to say that all white people are privilaged in the ways she outlined in that paper is just not true and actually throwing terms like that around is divisive and does nothing to tackle the core causes of racism.

The "idea" of white privilege is that there are certain privileges built into who you are and what you look like that will affect your opportunities in life. e.g. You could swap "white privilege" for "middle class upbringing privilege" This doesn't mean all people brought up middle class are now privileged, it just means that being brought up that way and having a persona that can be recognised as such brings with it some advantages in life. 

Really it's just a different way of saying racism exists and if you're not BAME you're not affected by it (and hence are born with that privilege). 

It doesn't mean that if you are a better person, or that you have a free pass in life and it certainly doesn't mean you won't end up with addiction problems, homeless etc.. 

6
In reply to Shani:

> The only person who we definitely know on this thread is non-white is Freeheel47. S/he describes the tone of the article as 'patronising'. S/he goes on to say s/he is "fairly sure that almost everyone on UKC isn't racist, values diversity, would actively welcome anyone who was interested / nice / had a go, ecognises that climbing is pretty white, wonders a bit why this might be".

Is the article saying that they're all racist? Is "not being actively racist" enough? 


> I don't want to over-generalise his/her view (other non-whites will have a different opinions), but perhaps everyone on this thread should digest what s/he has written?

It was a good post and he/she is entitled to their opinion but don't draw anything more than anecdotal evidence from it. 

12
In reply to timparkin:

> Is "not being actively racist" enough? 

When it comes to diversity in climbing, absolutely not. We need to widen opportunity and lower barriers to entry. To do this we need to target ALL kids.

Kind of the point most of us have been making above.

4
 Offwidth 24 Jun 2021
In reply to timparkin:

I'd rather think about conscious and unconscious bias, as white privilege is a bit narrow, uni-directional and emotive, it could be any number of factors and in both directions (or maybe I'm wrong and the PM Eton correlation is really about significant differences in teaching quality). I'm pretty sure some biases still occur in climbing but I've seen way more in my University career and more again in society in general. In my decade plus of involvement in a uni climbing club we had more non-white and more non british climbers than the proportion of the student population but always fewer women (but still more than wider participation rates at that time).

1
 Offwidth 24 Jun 2021
In reply to Shani:

If we target I'd rather we look at all disadvantaged kids, there are enough opportunities for everyone else already. School sport and youth support have been major victims of austerity.

1
In reply to JRS81:

You say: "It seems there's a huge amount of bile and vitriol against any concept of inclusivity. Hopefully the rising popularity of climbing as a result of the Olympics and social media will see an rise in a younger population in the climbing world and this will push the aging, angry middle-class white folk that have been so riled up by this article into a minority that will ultimately fade away."

I find that quite deeply offensive frankly. The debate on this thread has had a measured and inclusive tone with absolutely no vitriol that I can see. Your rejection of many of the posts on the thread, phrased in this way, makes me think you are just as bigoted as the "aging, angry middle-class white folk" cliche that you trot out. It's disappointing that someone who says they are in favour of diversity is here practicing the opposite of inclusiveness. Look in the mirror Caliban.

3
In reply to JRS81:

You say "people holding up the thoroughly discredited government reports of late to 'prove' that there's no problem," - but that report was written by diverse people and the point of mentioning it was to show that your assumption of the UK being institutionally racist was your view and not a fact as you inferred. The report has not been thoroughly discredited. Many people disgree with it. Many people agree with it.

I would hope that you find it possible to respect the right of people to hold opposing views to yours without calling them out for being ridiculous or quoting 'thoroughly discredited' reports.

Post edited at 10:06
2
 Offwidth 24 Jun 2021
In reply to Chris_Mellor:

You thrive on being offended Chris, it's led to some of your best writing.

I'd love someone to try and prove UKC forums are less full of "aging angry middle class white folk" than climbing in general. In all aspects of that list UKC forums are a very different world from my local indoor walls. In terms if inclusivity, older, white middle class climbers there are treated just like everyone else. UKC forums do seem a lot more angry on average than climbers on crags or at walls. However, I'd expect this as climbing is a shared enjoyable experience and forums a place for debate, where anonymity, lack of visual clues and complexity of language interpretation does tend to make this more heated than face-to-face communication.

5
 JRS81 24 Jun 2021
In reply to Chris_Mellor:

"I find that quite deeply offensive frankly. The debate on this thread has had a measured and inclusive tone with absolutely no vitriol that I can see. Your rejection of many of the posts on the thread, phrased in this way, makes me think you are just as bigoted as the "aging, angry middle-class white folk" cliche that you trot out. It's disappointing that someone who says they are in favour of diversity is here practicing the opposite of inclusiveness. Look in the mirror Caliban."

...and if you read on a bit, I did walk back some of this statement and apologise for it. I still hold that some of it is true but accept that it was an unfair generalisation. Again, if you can't see any vitriol in some of the responses, then you are simply skimming/ignoring quite a few comments. Yet again I hold up the example of the 10th post that was the start of several others in a similar though admittedly less aggressive tone...

7
 Offwidth 24 Jun 2021
In reply to Chris_Mellor:

That government report wasn't representative of diverse opinion. If there was no problem they wouldn't need to pick a sympathetic panel and try to hide real issues in the way they did. The PMs own advisor quit over the report

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-56601166

This contains Lord Wooley's views as ex diversity advisor:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/mar/31/deeply-cynical-no-10-report-criticises-use-of-institutional-racism

Plus a senior police officers views:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/apr/02/uk-racial-disparity-report-consultation-fawlty-towers-like-former-met-officer-dal-babu-says

2
 freeheel47 24 Jun 2021
In reply to Shani:

I'm a bloke- local convenor of the grumpy old men's club. 

Interesting that what I say is 'anecdotal' as opposed to everything else.

Funnily enough I do have rage about this thread. Firstly because of the patronising bollocks in the article (I found the "can't possibly relate to" bit infuriating). Secondly because I passionately hate unfairness. And I think a lot of the article and the comments are deeply insulting / unfair to my (not brown ) brothers and sisters- in the we are all human sense. But they are denied the opportunity to defend / justify themselves- 'because they is white'.

2
 Tom Valentine 24 Jun 2021
In reply to JRS81:

"Negative/ denial" is much closer the mark than "rage/vitriol/bile".  

progress

In reply to UKC Articles:

Climbing is historically and still to an extent, seen by the mainstream as a strange sport. Its pioneers have often been outliers of society.  Women's activists who'd probably be labelled as feminist today (e.g. Dororth Wordsworth and Mary Baker), gay people (e.g. John Menlove Edwards), Satanists (Aleister Crowley) , various drug fuelled hippies (maybe indiscrete to name people for that), it really is a wonderfully bizarre mix.

One of the benefits of climbing is unlike joining some exclusive golf club, you don't need to conform to society or obtain prior approval from others to be able to participate. Given the sport's historical development in part by oddballs and societal misfits, climbing is far more inclusive and open to all than other sport in general. 

If we see that some communities are under represented in specific aspects of climbing, what balance is needed between the knee-jerk reaction to question the culture of climbers and perhaps more importantly... to promote the sport in its various forms to communities who haven't participated as fully.

Rather than trying to catalogue inequality, can't we just spend that effort on widespread promotion of climbing to every community, without bias or prejudice?

In reply to LakesWinter:

What was this 'paper'? If it was an academic paper, what journal was it published in?

I think it's pretty silly to try saying that the concept of privilege that comes with ethnicity (particularly in the US context) comes from some random article in 1989. The civil rights movement from the 40s onwards included white Americans who consciously used their "white privilege" to go places and do things for the cause that were simply too dangerous for their black comrades.

The whole debate around passing is in effect "white privilege" in action, and that goes back to the relatively early days of chattel slavery in the New World - I'm not sure if there was ever a time when male slave owners didn't rape their female slaves and sire mixed race children as a result.

The idea that no one had thought of white privilege before 1989 doesn't make a lot of sense really. It feels rather like the current US right wing obsession with calling any discussion around race and politics "critical race theory" and then trying to ban it.

3
 Offwidth 24 Jun 2021
In reply to TobyA:

Numerous examples here of use of the term back to the early 19th century and throughout the US civil rights movement.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_privilege

 Offwidth 24 Jun 2021
In reply to CantClimbTom:

Many climbers are rightly not happy with a simple widespread promotion as it's one of the few activities that honestly presents the risks involved for those new to the games and emphasises the need for all to be made aware of these risks and the importance of behaving responsibly (as per the BMC participation statement).

It's not just equity reasons I think disadvantaged groups should be targeted, it's how I've seen access to things like sport and the arts transform lives where other more mainstream opportunities (especially school based education) didn't seem to be working.

In reply to Offwidth:

I think one thing is for certain if us users, the bmc etc.. don't promote our view of outdoor activities; the challenge, solitude, litter free, poo free!, self reliance etc...... then I'm sure more folk will meet the outdoors via #latestchallenge, conquer Mt snowdon, paint stones, waymarked everything, zero risk... route. 

Whilst seeming odd, perhaps we need to protect our old school view of the hills, of climbing, by promoting it more, not less. I don't think anyone on this thread cares what colour, ethnicity, religion or sex a fellow climber is, as long as they take in slack when requested!

In reply to Tom Valentine:

> "Negative/ denial" is much closer the mark than "rage/vitriol/bile".  

> progress

Still quite loaded terms though 😉

 Rank_Bajin 24 Jun 2021
In reply to planetmarshall:

I think you must have read a different report as that wasn’t the conclusion I saw. 

 Tom Valentine 24 Jun 2021
In reply to Ridge:

Agreed, but if my demurral is seen by others as denial then that's no big deal to me, whereas if my attitude was described as outrage it would be a serious cases of misrepresentation.

 Offwidth 24 Jun 2021
In reply to summo:

I'd agree with that ...just as long as we are not watering down our values and marketing for the sake of growth and cash. I don''t see it as old school...much of the real passion for environmental sustainability is in the young climbers and hillwalkers.

In reply to Offwidth:

>  I don''t see it as old school...much of the real passion for environmental sustainability is in the young climbers and hillwalkers.

If you don't facebook/inst/snapchat/#.... the top of of every route, or summit then I'm afraid you’re old school. My younger brother is a classic, the idea of just doing something fun, exciting, challenging etc.. but then not telling anyone and enjoying it for what it is, doesn't exist. 

Sadly just as many youngsters throw their drive thru litter out of car windows, litter bugs exist in all portions of society. 

Post edited at 13:32
2
RentonCooke 24 Jun 2021
In reply to RentonCooke:

Interesting.The following rang true:

"In other words, Peggy McIntosh was born into the very cream of America’s aristocratic elite, and has remained ensconced there ever since. Her ‘experiential’ list enumerating the ways in which she benefits from being born with white skin simply confuses racial privilege with the financial advantages she has always been fortunate enough to enjoy. Many of her points are demonstrably economic."

I guess that's what rankles about this debate; defining me by the life experiences of Jacob Rees Mogg just because we're both white is obviously going to cause ire (unless Rees Mogg led Pool Wall and found the crux pretty steady).

1
 Olaf Prot 24 Jun 2021
In reply to Shani:

Yes, that's exactly what led to my calculatedly bilious post - to put (a few more of) my cards on the table, I am married to a South Asian woman, who is therefore "brown" as per the terminology above. My children are therefore mixed race, and in fact my daughter, especially when she has been in the sun, looks pretty much entirely South Asian. Will she never experience "racism"? Probably not, as there is always a Neanderthal or three when you least want them, but to bracket her as "brown" when she has (lucky her!) been born with the massive privileges of a highly educated middle class family (one with PhD) who are in the top x% of wealth bracket in the country (where x is a very small number) is utterly utterly absurd. As I said, just deliberately seeing everything through the prism of race is at best unhelpful and at worst (as per here) inflammatory.

1
In reply to RentonCooke:

I wondered where you were!

But it seems what Lakes Winter was telling us earlier is exactly from the Quillette article.

And it is very, well, Quillette-esque. For example:

"All of which means that pretty much anything you read about ‘white privilege’ is traceable to an ‘experiential’ essay written by a woman who benefitted from massive wealth, a panoply of aristocratic connections, and absolutely no self-awareness whatsoever. "

Just seems utterly ridiculous. Whether social class has a bigger impact on people's lives than ethnicity is perfectly sensible debate, as is to what extent you can can unentangle those two ideas anyway, but the above statement is just an absurd attempt to build a strawman.

2
 gooberman-hill 24 Jun 2021
In reply to Shani:

> I guess that's what rankles about this debate; defining me by the life experiences of Jacob Rees Mogg just because we're both white is obviously going to cause ire (unless Rees Mogg led Pool Wall and found the crux pretty steady).

I never thought the question would arise:

      Jacob Rees-Mogg - what has he ever done on grit?

Steve

1
 Offwidth 24 Jun 2021
In reply to summo:

Yes I'm old school in that respect but I thought we were talking about who shares BMC values and I don't see any big change with age. 

In reply to gooberman-hill:

> I never thought the question would arise:

>       Jacob Rees-Mogg - what has he ever done on grit?

> Steve

Jacob Rees-Mogg would be the kind of guy who'd give TPS E0.

In reply to Offwidth:

> Yes I'm old school in that respect but I thought we were talking about who shares BMC values and I don't see any big change with age. 

Of course. I just tried something. I typed "how to start climbing" into Google, bmc came up first, even the redbull site was remarkably sensible. So no barriers to good practical advice there. 

1
In reply to UKC Articles:

I think what got my back up about this article was the hectoring tone, and the feeling that as a white climber I was being criticized, perhaps even blamed, for issues which are not my responsibility or even within my control. It also seemed patronising towards those it was trying to support.

Many of the obstacles non-white people face are due to being city-dwelling and economically disadvantaged, but as has frequently been pointed out these are not race-specific.  Some are of their own making - cultural obstacles, or the feeling that they don't "belong" in the countryside.  I can fully understand that someone might feel uncomfortable walking into a largely white environment, but this is a largely white country and they must face that situation often.  If that means that they are drawn to sports which have a higher proportion of non-white participants, is that a bad thing?  In any event, these are outside my control and I don't feel I should be criticised for them.

The author complains that "no one is actually bothering to talk to these communities", but who should be doing that?  Is anyone talking to any white communities for that matter?  I certainly don't see that as my responsibility, and I'm not sure anyone should be trying to promote climbing that way.  This is a dangerous sport after all, and people should only get into it if they are drawn to it.  There is also increasing pressure on limited resources, and enough people are finding their way into it of their own volition without going around whipping up interest where it didn't previously exist. I don't want there to be obstacles to anyone, of any ethnicity or background, who wants to take up climbing, but I don't wish to try to convert people who aren't already interested.  The BMC's policy is to encourage and support those who are interested in climbing, but that's not the same as getting them interested in the first place.

She criticises schools for not offering climbing, but the same complaint could be made by hundreds of other sports and pastimes.  Schools have limited resources and lots of conflicting pressures, and the activities they follow are most likely to be dictated by the interests and skills of their staff.  Again, that's not my responsibility.

I will do my best to be friendly and encouraging to anyone I meet who is interested in climbing. I try to ensure my club is similarly open and friendly, but I can't force non-white members to join. I don't see what else I can do. 

2
 LakesWinter 24 Jun 2021
In reply to TobyA:

Here's a link to the original paper by Peggy McIntosh.

https://psychology.umbc.edu/files/2016/10/White-Privilege_McIntosh-1989.pdf

This is the paper that is cited in sociological journals etc as being particularly influential.

Post edited at 18:24
 GrahamD 24 Jun 2021
In reply to UKC Articles:

I would say our club is pretty welcoming and diverse, has many nationalities and races as very active members but no black members currently.   That is pretty representative of the local population,  I'd say.

1
 Henry Iddon 24 Jun 2021
In reply to UKC Articles:

"I feel excluded walking into most walls as a female. When I'm surrounded by 20 or 30 men and I'm the only female, I don't feel comfortable. "

I'm surprised the GB Climbing employed a coach and diversity program developer who feels uncomfortable walking in to what is basically their place of work / a place they would be required to regularly engage with people as part of their role. I'd have thought they'd want to employ someone confident and self assured. Odd.

Post edited at 19:19
10
 Olaf Prot 24 Jun 2021
In reply to Henry Iddon:

Yes, but you see being “excluded” requires that someone is at fault for doing the excluding, it can’t just be how it is. As usual the demand to be offended is outstripping the supply.

2
In reply to LakesWinter:

That paper is American, and "white privilege" is an American idea.  America is a very different society, and its race problems are different from ours. We tend to be lulled by a shared language and familiarity from films and TV into thinking we are very similar, but it was only when I visited that I realised that in its own way the USA is as foreign as say France or Germany.  We would not adopt ideas from those countries without some critical thinking to see whether they apply here, and we should not do so with ideas from America.

The examples she gives of "white privilege" should in fact be the norm for everyone.  "Privilege" suggests additional advantages over and above that norm.  It is insulting and belittling to tell people who are severely disadvantaged that they are "privileged" just because others are even more disadvantaged.  There is some evidence that working class white boys, who perform worse in school than nearly every other group, are not being offered the same support as other groups because of their supposed "white privilege".

The concept that white people generally don't face the same problems that non-white people do is entirely valid. To call it "privilege" is misleading and divisive, and distracts attention from the actual issue, which is the disadvantages non-white people face.  We need to find another term for it.

1
 mattrg470 24 Jun 2021
In reply to UKC Articles:

Anything that states there aren't enough black people, automatically assumes there are too many white people. I don't understand how this, in and of itself, isn't a racist viewpoint.

All of the so called "barriers" to black people also apply to white people. Not all white people are middle class, not all white people are interested in physical activity, not all white people can afford climbing.

If you increase everyone's awareness of climbing to get more people interested you are naturally going to attract black people, but also more white people too. This still means the percentage of black people will remain low. If you then only want to attract black people, you are discriminating against white people people based on their skin colour, which is illegal.

Promote the sport and show everyone how great climbing is of course, but dont be concerned that the desired race isn't showing up. You can't control people's behaviour.

10
In reply to LakesWinter:

Ok, I did A level sociology, my first degree in Philosophy and Sociology, then a master's and doctorate in political science and I worked in a social research think tank for a decade, where I followed US politics closely as part of my work. Now I teach A level sociology and politics, and I can honestly say I've not heard of her, or the article before today. Perhaps it has been influential somewhere - but it's odd that even when the "woke wars" have been such a massive issue for a good few years, that I've still never heard of it. Did you come across it studying sociology yourself? Or was it in an article like the one in Quillette rubbishing it? It does have the whiff of the far right glomming on to the Frankfurt School a decade ago as the source of "our" capitulation to radical Islam or radical feminism or whatever the bugbear of the week was. You always got the impression that hadn't really spent much time trying to sort out their Adorno from their Habermas!

What do you think about the work done, reported on the BBC that I linked above, on how Black and Asian British women still seem to be receiving poorer quality antenatal and maternity care on the NHS? Are things like that not evidence that being a member of the majority ethnic group in a country is in effect a privilege over being from a minority?

1
 Flinticus 24 Jun 2021
In reply to Howard J:

> Many of the obstacles non-white people face are due to being city-dwelling and economically disadvantaged, but as has frequently been pointed out these are not race-specific. 

Though race does correlate to a degree with poverty in that some minorities suffer economically due to discrimination and a focus on 'traditional' employments in hospitality and retail. 

Minorities too may congregate in urban areas as there is comfort, safety and more acceptance in grouping together, not to mention practical (sourcing goods, access to religious centres, shared festivals). I see this where I live, one of the most mixed areas of Glasgow. There's a significant % of Muslim and Indian. And I've past experience of Kilburn in London - though I never lived there, I did go for a drink!

> Some are of their own making - cultural obstacles, or the feeling that they don't "belong" in the countryside.  I can fully understand that someone might feel uncomfortable walking into a largely white environment, but this is a largely white country and they must face that situation often.  If that means that they are drawn to sports which have a higher proportion of non-white participants, is that a bad thing?  

I would say yes, for the individual who may love climbing but doesn't get to try it. Climbing was not a part of my culture and I didn't start it until 40. I wish I had known of it earlier but climbing was not even on my radar until my late 30s. Sport in Ireland was football or hurling with a token element of track and swimming. Next to no-one climbed.

I don't blame you or British climbers  for not reaching out to me but I would have loved an earlier introduction to the world of climbing. It would have been akin to a therapeutic intervention. There will be thousands out there in such communities, as well as the poor, who would thrive as climbers. Be kinda nice for key organisations to do target promotions. Though like you I do not feel it my responsibility, a punter who has enough of that as is.

As for entering a largely white environment I kinda know what that feels like...like when you walk into a busy rural pub in say Shropshire and order a drink. Your accent will set out apart...which is why I love finding Polish or Latvian or Aussie staff! Though not such an issue now as it was 20 years ago.

1
In reply to UKC Articles:

The elephant in the room here is how expensive as a hobby climbing is.

I’ve just done the maths on my trad rack and I reckon it works out as follows:

- Passive gear (2x wall nuts, hexes, micros): £200

- Ropes (Doubles, wall single, decent single): £300

- Cams: £300

- Sport and trad QDs: £200

- Shoes (3 pairs): £300

- Other stuff: c.£200

Ive also got a bouldering mat (£200) and a full set of winter gear (£1000+).

Add into that wall entry (if you climb 3 times a week and entry is £7 it’s more than £1000 a year).

Climbing is not a cheap hobby.

Obviously if you’re really keen you can do things on a budget, but that often requires detailed knowledge and the willingness to go against conventional wisdom.

In reply to Howard J:

> The concept that white people generally don't face the same problems that non-white people do is entirely valid. To call it "privilege" is misleading and divisive, and distracts attention from the actual issue, which is the disadvantages non-white people face.  We need to find another term for it.

I think you've unintentionally landed on exactly the reason why 'white privilege' has been the new way of describing the 'problem'. If you call it 'racism', people who aren't racist can say "well it's not me so that's fine". If you call it 'white privilege' people have to face the fact that, yes they do have an advantage because of their appearance (they may have disadvantages or advantages in other ways but the 'white privilege is almost universal). This makes it societies problem to actively solve rather than an individual who can absolve themselves off responsibility by saying "but I'm not racist".

I saw an interesting tweet today that gave a metaphor - it's not perfect but it gives an idea of the issue.



 


14
 LakesWinter 24 Jun 2021
In reply to TobyA:

I know that paper is required reading on the Sociology degree at at least 1 red brick university in the UK yes; that's where I first came across it. I'd never heard of the website you mentioned until today though.

Anyway, I'm going to duck out of the conversation now but I thought I would do you the courtesy of replying seeing as you replied to me.

In reply to timparkin:

That hotel analogy doesn't work because it implies an inviolable asymmetry; EVERYONE can be racist.

3
 Ian W 24 Jun 2021
In reply to VSisjustascramble:

> The elephant in the room here is how expensive as a hobby climbing is.

> I’ve just done the maths on my trad rack and I reckon it works out as follows:

> - Passive gear (2x wall nuts, hexes, micros): £200

> - Ropes (Doubles, wall single, decent single): £300

> - Cams: £300

> - Sport and trad QDs: £200

> - Shoes (3 pairs): £300

> - Other stuff: c.£200

> Ive also got a bouldering mat (£200) and a full set of winter gear (£1000+).

> Add into that wall entry (if you climb 3 times a week and entry is £7 it’s more than £1000 a year).

> Climbing is not a cheap hobby.

> Obviously if you’re really keen you can do things on a budget, but that often requires detailed knowledge and the willingness to go against conventional wisdom.


But thats from the perspective of an experienced climber across many disciplines with the cash available to fund it. When I started out (cue Monty Python sketch) I didn't have any of that, but soon got a pair of second hand boots, and a rope. Nowadays however, my "stock list" is similar to yours except less trad stuff and more ropes. It doesnt have to be all that expensive........

In reply to VSisjustascramble:

> Climbing is not a cheap hobby.

> Obviously if you’re really keen you can do things on a budget, but that often requires detailed knowledge and the willingness to go against conventional wisdom.

Or friends who already go outside climbing or know people who do. And there's a barrier!

In reply to Shani:

> That hotel analogy doesn't work because it implies an inviolable asymmetry; EVERYONE can be racist.

It's a metaphor not a f*cking white paper... 

6
In reply to Shani:

> Jacob Rees-Mogg would be the kind of guy who'd give TPS E0.

Wasn't he on the summit bid on Rum Doodle?

In reply to Robert Durran:

> Wasn't he on the summit bid on Rum Doodle?

Undoubtedly one of those who succumbed to lassitude.

In reply to timparkin:

> It's a metaphor not a f*cking white paper... 

What is the racial equivalent of a ramp for wheelchair users that needs installing at a climbing wall or crag?

Genuinely interested, that shouldn't be too much to ask of a metaphor should it? 

Post edited at 23:13
3
In reply to timparkin:

In reply to timparkin:

> If you call it 'white privilege' people have to face the fact that, yes they do have an advantage because of their appearance

No, they think "I'm not privileged, I'm just an ordinary person, so it doesn't apply to me".  That's why I said the term is a distraction from the actual issue.

Something that applies to 86% of the population isn't a privilege, it's the norm.  It's wrong that the rest of the population are disadvantaged, and from their point of view the majority may seem to be privileged.  I believe the term originated in the American Civil Rights movement, and seen from that perspective the phrase makes more sense. But to the white majority who don't feel their lives are privileged and may face many disadvantages themselves, it is counter-intuitive and counter-productive.

1
In reply to Ian W:

> But thats from the perspective of an experienced climber across many disciplines with the cash available to fund it. When I started out (cue Monty Python sketch) I didn't have any of that, but soon got a pair of second hand boots, and a rope. Nowadays however, my "stock list" is similar to yours except less trad stuff and more ropes. It doesnt have to be all that expensive........

Except I think there's an assumption there that climbing is all you do. And if you're at a crag 48 weekends out of 52 then yeah, it's worth investing. But if you're not already a committed climber and you're trying to manage competing costs then it's unlikely that membership to a wall is going to be top of your list. If you're looking to get active then a general gym membership--one that might cover a range of classes or a pool--that includes things you know you can do is going to win out over a climbing wall membership that only allows you to climb and that will require you to buy or hire specialist kit, as well as potentially find a partner, every single time you visit. Most folks will find multiple uses for a cheap pair of trainers. A pair of rock shoes, not so much. If you're a newbie and can only afford one activity-based expense, wall membership is unlikely to be it. 

In reply to JRS81:

> "Yes, I concede that most of the responses were simply denials of the existence of a problem or held other negative views, but clearly if you read back through the comments, the general attitude on here is either that there isn't a problem, or if there is one that we shouldn't be doing anything about it anyway."

I don't think the majority of people here are denying there's a problem. I think they're querying the cause of said problem. As I've read the comments, the general consensus seems to be that there are multiple and nuanced factors at play here, including socio-economic ones, and that claiming it's all the fault of structural racism is a gross oversimplification that does nobody any good, and ultimately doesn't get anyone any closer to actions that might bring us all progress. 

1
 JRS81 25 Jun 2021
In reply to r0x0r.wolfo:

> What is the racial equivalent of a ramp for wheelchair users that needs installing at a climbing wall or crag?

> Genuinely interested, that shouldn't be too much to ask of a metaphor should it? 

One pertinent example over the last couple of years involves unconscious bias in schools. Predicted grades are used on university applications and are provided by teachers. There is a persistent problem that black kids generally exceed their predicted grades when it comes to their exams, meaning that they have an unfair disadvantage when applying to university - the unconscious perception being that they are not as likely to achieve as other races. Interestingly, Asian kids (both South Asian and East Asian) are statistically given higher grades than they achieve in exams as they are unconsciously perceived to be overachieving - this has it's own problems but shows that race based bias works both ways!

A few more examples from what should hopefully be considered an unbiased source, but there's loads of information out there if you do a quick search - https://www.barnardos.org.uk/blog/how-systemic-racism-affects-young-people-uk

Post edited at 07:24
1
In reply to VSisjustascramble:

> The elephant in the room here is how expensive as a hobby climbing is.

> I’ve just done the maths on my trad rack and I reckon it works out as follows:

> - Passive gear (2x wall nuts, hexes, micros): £200

> - Ropes (Doubles, wall single, decent single): £300

> - Cams: £300

> - Sport and trad QDs: £200

> - Shoes (3 pairs): £300

> - Other stuff: c.£200

> Ive also got a bouldering mat (£200) and a full set of winter gear (£1000+).

> Add into that wall entry (if you climb 3 times a week and entry is £7 it’s more than £1000 a year).

> Climbing is not a cheap hobby.

> Obviously if you’re really keen you can do things on a budget, but that often requires detailed knowledge and the willingness to go against conventional wisdom.

You've described what a top end enthusiast would own not the basics needed by a new starter. I could give you a list for cycling, canoeing, surfing that would cost much more, anything needing a gym is going to be comparable. I could reduce your list to a pair of cheap shoes and a chalk bag. 

 freeheel47 25 Jun 2021
In reply to UKC Articles:

There are all sorts of confusing / confused posts here which muddle wider UK issues with the topic. 
 

The topic- increasing diversity in UK climbing. I don’t think anyone here is arguing that this isn’t a thing. Just that berating white climbers isn’t a helpful solution at all. 

the confusions. Is there a racism in the UK? Well quite obviously yes. However that is not necessarily the explanation for maternal mortality.  Or the diversity gap in UK climbing. 
 

is there much much less racism in the UK than ever there was and far less than in comparators: the US, Australia, NZ, the rest of Europe?  Yes. People from different ethnicities in the UK love each other. Literally.  Else mixed ethnicity wouldn’t be one of the fastest growing groups. A particular phenomenon here in the UK compared to those other places. 
 

White privilege.  Well. A concept is different from a thing. I have a concept that there is a tiny teapot in the rings of Saturn. But perhaps it is a thing, but again what’s the direct relevance to climbing?  Walking into a climbing wall is not like walking into The Cavalry and Guards Club in Mayfair. (The Ritz in Picardillyvisntbabgood example, as long as you have a tie on its very welcoming. Although standards have dropped on one is no longer necessary in the Rivoli Bar). But there are some things that are rather different. Especially for young black men. Especially when dealing with the plod.  But still, in many areas not white people can feel, even in the UK, which is one of the most diverse and least racist places in the world, “other”. But is the solution to that in UK climbing walls or at crags for white climbers to “educate themselves” about colonial history / slavery?  Well firstly I’d guess that the vast majority have a good knowledge of all that and think those things are very bad and in part the article will have annoyed on that front. But also are welcoming and friendly to all. Regardless of race/ sexuality etc. Unless a large group is top roping a popular classic on Stanage at a weekend.  In which case there will be muttering and dirty looks. 

Solutions. Well for regular climbers just what people are saying.  And I guess doing. Being friendly / nice / helpful to anyone and everyone. For institutions like the BMC, GB climbing?  Well not this sort of divisive nonsense. Perhaps promotion in schools in areas with larger numbers of kids from minorities? Maybe some role models?  I’d think that does help actually, but without trumpeting those people as specifically black or Asian. Just as amazing climbers. 
 

2
In reply to JRS81:

> There is a persistent problem that black kids generally exceed their predicted grades when it comes to their exams, meaning that they have an unfair disadvantage when applying to university - the unconscious perception being that they are not as likely to achieve as other races. Interestingly, Asian kids (both South Asian and East Asian) are statistically given higher grades than they achieve in exams as they are unconsciously perceived to be overachieving - this has it's own problems but shows that race based bias works both ways!

Interesting   - I've never heard of this analysis. Do you have a source?

 JRS81 25 Jun 2021
In reply to WVRox:

> Interesting   - I've never heard of this analysis. Do you have a source?

Loads on the internet on the subject at the moment as every education resource has put out guidance to teachers on this very subject, but here's one that provides links to research etc.

https://www.thersa.org/blog/2020/04/cancelled-exams-covid

In reply to JRS81:

Thankyou

 Olaf Prot 25 Jun 2021
In reply to Gritstone Widow:

> I don't think the majority of people here are denying there's a problem. I think they're querying the cause of said problem.

Not *entirely* sure we are all agreeing there is a problem. If there were signs, actual or metaphorical, outside climbing walls and on the roads to crags saying "No blacks, no Irish", then we would have a problem. To the extent that "minority" participation in a given activity is not exactly the same as the percentage of that minority in the overall, I don' think that is a problem. I just checked on ukdrillmusic.com/forums and strangely I couldn't find a single post which read "When you walk into your local video shoot, how many people are there? Maybe 100 or so. How many of those faces are black? 40, 60, 95, maybe even 100? If you see someone from a different ethnicity, maybe white, are they with other white rappers, or are they surrounded by their black peers?"...

4
 JRS81 25 Jun 2021
In reply to Olaf Prot:

> I just checked on ukdrillmusic.com/forums and strangely I couldn't find a single post which read "When you walk into your local video shoot, how many people are there? Maybe 100 or so. How many of those faces are black? 40, 60, 95, maybe even 100? If you see someone from a different ethnicity, maybe white, are they with other white rappers, or are they surrounded by their black peers?"...

I think there's more than a hint of false equivalence here. Drill music has come about very recently and originates from a specific culture that has it's roots in poorer black communities in London (and we don't have space to talk about the reasons why so many people find themselves in this situation, but it stems from the way that black people have been treated in the UK historically - again, loads of information out there if you want to learn more). As with other similar music genres, given another few years it will probably reach the mainstream and be assimilated into general culture (much as grime has).

Climbing doesn't really have similar cultural roots in the same way, and has been around long enough that they should have faded into insignificance by now...

2
In reply to JRS81:

> Climbing doesn't really have similar cultural roots in the same way, and has been around long enough that they should have faded into insignificance by now...

Really? 

Climbing isn't a homogeneous 'scene' and it's still evolving (think indoors vs outdoors,  trad vs sport, routes vs bouldering). The 1980s climbing scene in Sheffield and Llanberis is a world away from the middle-class, air-conditioned indoor bouldering scene in London. As far as i can see these diverse pockets still exist.

2
Blanche DuBois 25 Jun 2021
In reply to UKC Articles:

Hmm - article on diversity, written by a woman.  I haven't looked at the thread contents, but I'm going to go out on a limb here and predict they can be summed up by: a bunch of middle-aged blokes say "Why, what problem".  If I get especially bored I might scan the thread to see if I'm right.  Or I might just look at the like/dislike ratio to my post.  Something < 0.15341 will mean I was right.

26
 JRS81 25 Jun 2021
In reply to Shani:

> Really? 

> Climbing isn't a homogeneous 'scene' and it's still evolving (think indoors vs outdoors,  trad vs sport, routes vs bouldering). The 1980s climbing scene in Sheffield and Llanberis is a world away from the middle-class, air-conditioned indoor bouldering scene in London. As far as i can see these diverse pockets still exist.

You are right that different pockets of climbing culture have sprung up from specific regions and groups, but as I said, there has been enough time that this has spread and been absorbed. You find air conditioned indoor bouldering in Sheffield and North Wales now, and likewise, people who climb in the air conditioned London bouldering gyms do also venture out onto boulders and even routes in Yorkshire and Llanberis. I'd also argue that whereas drill music is a form of expression based on a particular cultural situation, these pockets of climbing culture don't really have comparable roots. 

6
 mrbird 25 Jun 2021
In reply to UKC Articles:

I was the only white guy at the last climbing wall I was in. The rest were all Asian and Middle Eastern. Never crossed my mind that this could be down to racism. Not the fact it was in Qatar. 

6
In reply to JRS81:

Thanks - I don't disagree with any of that at all and appreciate the impact of such biases in school and beyond.

I did however ask for an example specifically for the climbing wall or crag. If the answer is there aren't any and the lack of diversity is a result of structural racism elsewhere in society then I genuinely think it's counterproductive to impose racial segregation and economic benefits / penalties based on skin colour at the counter of the local bouldering centre to try to square things back up. 

If there is something in the climbing community like the predicted grades problem you highlight in schools then the thread looks completely different. 

Post edited at 11:28
1
 GrahamD 25 Jun 2021
In reply to Blanche DuBois:

You really think that people disagree there is a problem because only because the article was written by a woman ?

1
 JRS81 25 Jun 2021
In reply to r0x0r.wolfo:

> Thanks - I don't disagree with any of that at all and appreciate the impact of such biases in school and beyond.

> I did however ask for an example specifically for the climbing wall or crag. If the answer is there aren't any and the lack of diversity is a result of structural racism elsewhere in society then I genuinely think it's counterproductive impose racial segregation and economic benefits / penalties based on skin colour at the counter of the local bouldering centre to try to square things back up. 

I think the example above about climbing in a gym in Qatar and not feeling intimidated in some way highlights one of the issues even though the commenter thinks it disproves the point. Black kids, particularly in urban areas, experience all sorts of slightly intimidating practices such as the infamous stop and search, the school grading, well-meaning but misguided questions like 'where are you really from?', worried glances from people that think that all black youth are dangerous etc. etc. so when they walk into an all-white room, there will likely be a slight feeling of intimidation, even if it is completely unfounded in that particular situation. When a white guy walks into a gym in Qatar, he probably hasn't experienced that lifetime of being made to feel different and inferior, so it probably wouldn't affect him.

If you think this is all focused on youths on run-down London council estates, then there are other examples outside of that. One of my colleagues is black but very much middle-class. He's a high earner in IT and he drives himself and his family around in a black mercedes AMG estate, a car he bought because he loves it. Unfortunately he has to put up with regularly being pulled over for no explicable reason. His kids are reaching the age where he is going to have to give them the talk and teach them how to handle themselves around the police when the inevitable stop and search happens and tell them about the other problems they are going to have to navigate as they grow up. 

Of course you're right that these are societal issues and not specific to the bouldering gym, but you should be able to see how they might affect somebody making the choice to walk into the gym in the first place and how they might feel once they're there. Yes you're right that we shouldn't be offering discounts based on race - that would be completely wrong, but perhaps a bit of outreach to schools in lower income areas and discounts offered to kids from those schools could be one option? If nothing else, just being aware of some of these wider societal issues and doing our best to make sure that we are not contributing to them and even better, calling people out when we realise that they are (they probably don't even realise themselves) would help!

1
RentonCooke 25 Jun 2021
In reply to TobyA:

I'm surprised. She is routinely mentioned by the woke, is absolutely covered in CRT classes. In the recent race awareness course all staff at Cambridge were asked to attend we were sent her knapsack article as our pre-reading.

She is very much the bread and butter of the movement, whether people cheering it know her name or not...though I imagine most just shout her mantras with little knowledge of what underlays it.

3
RentonCooke 25 Jun 2021
In reply to Blanche DuBois:

> Hmm - article on diversity, written by a woman.  I haven't looked at the thread contents, but I'm going to go out on a limb here and predict they can be summed up by: a bunch of middle-aged blokes say "Why, what problem".  If I get especially bored I might scan the thread to see if I'm right.  Or I might just look at the like/dislike ratio to my post.  Something < 0.15341 will mean I was right.

That post says a lot about the sorts of arguments made by the woke movement; essentially heads I win, tails you lose.

9
In reply to JRS81:

> You are right that different pockets of climbing culture have sprung up from specific regions and groups, but as I said, there has been enough time that this has spread and been absorbed. 

Would you put a lack of black climbers at climbing walls in Llanberis down to racism in the climbing community?

3
 JRS81 25 Jun 2021
In reply to Shani:

> Would you put a lack of black climbers at climbing walls in Llanberis down to racism in the climbing community?

This is simply not relevant to the discussion! Of course there are regional variations, and these are easily explained by the regions themselves. You clearly know this otherwise you wouldn't be coming up with this 'clever' argument that you think proves your point. This needs to be looked at with a view across the whole climbing community/country. 

Again, I don't think the argument is about whether the climbing community is inherently racist or not (although of course, as with any cross-section of society there will be racist climbers - again, not relevant to this type of discussion really), it's about making sure that we're conscious of the challenges and doing what we can to address them and improve things. See my previous post - I'm not going to repeat it here. I don't mean to offend you with this next comment, but I'm sure you will be, but if all you have is silly comments like this or trying to compare climbing to drill music then I'm afraid I'm simply not going to bother engaging with you from here on unless you make a valid and reasonable point that contributes to the discussion. 

4
In reply to JRS81:

Well, I completely agree with pretty much all of that.

I think virtually all of the people who downvoted the article don't want walls to exercerbate racism and but strongly disagree with some of the faulty logic employed and with creating another place where the starting point is to treat people differently by racially profiling them.

Discounts for schools, ensuring poorer kids can participate in the same sports as kids with wealthier families, absolutely. 

1
In reply to JRS81:

> Of course you're right that these are societal issues and not specific to the bouldering gym, but you should be able to see how they might affect somebody making the choice to walk into the gym in the first place and how they might feel once they're there.

I absolutely understand that. Although not comparable in terms of impact on my life, I wouldn't dream of going to a black tie dinner, join the local Rotary Club, go to a posh restaurant, go to a drill or grime music gig etc. I'd be out of place and worried what people might be thinking about me. It's also one of the main reasons I never went to Uni or even considered becoming an officer in the armed forces. They're alien environments to me.

Obviously it has far more impact when race is the issue. I could fake it in the environments I'm uncomfortable in, but you can't pretend to be white, and why the hell should you?

However it is largely all down to perception. The odd idiot aside, I can't believe anyone would experience hostility at a climbing wall or crag.

Which brings us back to the article. I'm still unsure what the author expects me to do about the wider societal issues?

1
In reply to JRS81:

> I don't mean to offend you with this next comment, but I'm sure you will be, but if all you have is silly comments like this or trying to compare climbing to drill music then I'm afraid I'm simply not going to bother engaging with you from here on unless you make a valid and reasonable point that contributes to the discussion. 

No offence taken. I didn't introduce the 'Drill' analogy. I think it was a rubbish analogy and was explaining why.

There's really no resistance on this thread to the point that "it's about making sure that we're conscious of the challenges and doing what we can to address them and improve things."

2
 GrahamD 25 Jun 2021
In reply to RentonCooke:

Would someone kindly explain WTF this "Woke movement" is ? Especially as I appear to be a part of it since "Centrist=woke" according to another poster that appears to share many of your views.  If it turns out I am part of this movement,  I bloody well want a membership badge.

3
In reply to Offwidth:

> UKC forums do seem a lot more angry on average than climbers on crags or at walls.

Yes, I'm sorry.  I should have posted to say I've read the article and have no strong response to report.  Some of it seems fair enough and I agree, other parts not quite so much.

I admit to being middle class, not sure I'm prepared to go with aged quite yet, definitely white.  Can't do much about the latter, the first two are all my own work.  

 JRS81 25 Jun 2021
In reply to Ridge:

> Which brings us back to the article. I'm still unsure what the author expects me to do about the wider societal issues?

On that point, the sections under "Research" and "Check yourself" in the article address that...

In reply to JRS81:

> On that point, the sections under "Research" and "Check yourself" in the article address that...

Do I need to have a badge so BAME people know I'm a now a subject matter expert, so they'll feel more comfortable entering a climbing wall if I'm present?

3
In reply to Blanche DuBois:

> Hmm - article on diversity, written by a woman.  I haven't looked at the thread contents, but I'm going to go out on a limb here and predict they can be summed up by: a bunch of middle-aged blokes say "Why, what problem".  If I get especially bored I might scan the thread to see if I'm right.  Or I might just look at the like/dislike ratio to my post.  Something < 0.15341 will mean I was right.

10/10.

One of the best yet.

Normally you only get 'the tick' if it's your thread, but I recognise the genius of this inflight zinger. 👏

2
In reply to VSisjustascramble:

Makes you wonder how the Rock and Ice, Creag Ddu and countless other down on heel working class clubs managed to have such an effect on world climbing, as non of them had much money.

2
In reply to Philb1950:

I just think times have changes.

Back in the day you needed a rope, shoes and any protection that you can get your hands on.

Now the primary entry route for people will be through walls. Wall membership often costs the same as a high end gym.

The cost of climbing is much higher than say 5-a-side with your mates.

Maybe UKC could do a series of articles of climbing on a budget to explain how to access the sport without spending a fortune.

3
In reply to Blanche DuBois:

An aside (sorry, off thread):

I wondered why you chose this particular nom de plume? 

2
 JRS81 25 Jun 2021
In reply to Philb1950:

There have been various articles and even documentaries about how some now professional climbers started out by signing onto the doll and then spending their days climbing and training whilst living off the state, but as has been pointed out, that's just not an option with the way benefits work in the modern world, so again this just isn't a useful comparison.

(apologies, just realised I replied to the wrong person - corrected now!)

Post edited at 14:44
In reply to JRS81:

> On that point, the sections under "Research" and "Check yourself" in the article address that...

I wouldn't put it quite as bluntly as Ridge but whether or not someone has done or hasn't done the required reading isn't generally going to be visible to a first timer at the wall. 

However, let's read the check yourself section. 

"Once you have researched and have awoken to a lot of the subtle racisms in our society, you should start to notice more racial stereotyping, or crude jokes. It is now your responsibility to call people out on them"

So it's the racist jokes regularly overhead at the wall that are causing the issue? Is that the premise we're standing behind? 

3
 Tom Valentine 25 Jun 2021
In reply to VSisjustascramble:

> Maybe UKC could do a series of articles of climbing on a budget to explain how to access the sport without spending a fortune.

Maybe skip the walls and get straight on to the rock. It worked for lots of us.

1
 JRS81 25 Jun 2021
In reply to r0x0r.wolfo:

> I wouldn't put it quite as bluntly as Ridge but whether or not someone has done or hasn't done the required reading isn't generally going to be visible to a first timer at the wall. 

> However, let's read the check yourself section. 

> "Once you have researched and have awoken to a lot of the subtle racisms in our society, you should start to notice more racial stereotyping, or crude jokes. It is now your responsibility to call people out on them"

> So it's the racist jokes regularly overhead at the wall that are causing the issue? Is that the premise we're standing behind? 

This is one line from one section of a series of suggestions in the article. You need to take this a collection of suggestions. It's not an article that says there's a single magic bullet that will fix everything, it's a series of suggestions about education, modified behaviour (if needed, but of course you may find that you're perfect already in which case, fine, skip this step), supporting people who are taking direct action, and ultimately for those in a position to do so, taking direct action.

 RobAJones 25 Jun 2021
In reply to JRS81:

> One pertinent example over the last couple of years involves unconscious bias in schools. Predicted grades are used on university applications and are provided by teachers. There is a persistent problem that black kids generally exceed their predicted grades when it comes to their exams, meaning that they have an unfair disadvantage when applying to university - the unconscious perception being that they are not as likely to achieve as other races. Interestingly, Asian kids (both South Asian and East Asian) are statistically given higher grades than they achieve in exams as they are unconsciously perceived to be overachieving - this has it's own problems but shows that race based bias works both ways!

It's an interesting topic and I accept that unconscious bias exists amongst teachers, I think this extends to gender and personality traits as well.  I do think there is evidence from last years results that the efforts to adjust for this were effective. I was surprised about there being a problem with predicted A level grades for Universities being a problem, I would have thought all centres should be making these on the basis of mock exams/coursework rather than "what the teacher thinks"  Since AS's were scrapped the increase in black students is far greater than any other group? I used to track the KS4 progress for 46 secondary schools. In Maths they would all sit three "mock exams" during this period. Black boys made significantly more progress between the final mock (march) and the real one, than expected based on previous results. In subsequent years this adjustment in the predicted grades could be made, but I'm not sure whether this is evidence of unconscious bias from the teachers or that those boys in general worked/revised harder for their final exam than their peers.   

 RobAJones 25 Jun 2021
In reply to Tom Valentine:

> Maybe skip the walls and get straight on to the rock. It worked for lots of us.

I think bouldering outside is about as expensive as cold water swimming. I think access to a suitable venue might be more of a barrier than cost.

In reply to JRS81:

> This is one line from one section of a series of suggestions in the article. You need to take this a collection of suggestions. It's not an article that says there's a single magic bullet that will fix everything, it's a series of suggestions about education, modified behaviour (if needed, but of course you may find that you're perfect already in which case, fine, skip this step), supporting people who are taking direct action, and ultimately for those in a position to do so, taking direct action.

Surely each suggestion has to make some difference in it's own right and I've already talked about research, segregation and race-based discounts which are the other remedies put forward so I'm not cherry picking here. 

Let me ask you a direct question:

Do you agree with the author's assertion that crude and / or racist jokes told by climbers is any part of the reason for the low participation of ethnic minorities?

Are you able to put this recommendation into action? Will you be telling less racist jokes or have you been able to call out another climber for this behaviour recently? 

1
In reply to RobAJones:

Charles Albert has bouldered v16 barefoot. This might be frowned upon indoors but is another cheap option outdoor!

3
 JRS81 25 Jun 2021
In reply to r0x0r.wolfo:

> Are you able to put this recommendation into action? Will you be telling less racist jokes or have you been able to call out another climber for this behaviour recently? 

Yes, I have called out a climber friend who was talking about how different races are better suited to different sports. He had unwittingly fallen into the whole 'all black men are great runners' fallacy. I know it wasn't an intentionally racist comment, it's just a widely held misperception. It's not the only time I've called people out on these things and I'm sure it won't be the last. It's not about pointing the finger and saying "you're a racist" it's about recognising that we don't all know the answers and sometimes we make mistakes with the best of intentions. 

Specifically to your racist jokes question, no I have not, but if you are saying that climbers never tell racist jokes, then you're probably deluding yourself. 

3
 Tom Valentine 25 Jun 2021
In reply to RobAJones:

Is access to a suitable venue affected by race or is it more of a socio-economic thing,?

 Tom Valentine 25 Jun 2021
In reply to JRS81:

Would you "call someone out" for  suggesting that black people are not good at swimming ?

This is not to say that black people can't swim - they just aren't interested in learning how to do it.

And for all that I have loved climbing, it's a leisure activity and not a life saving skill, and the fact that there aren't many black faces on the crag is a lot less worrying to me than the fact that only 5% of UK black adults are swimmers.

4
In reply to r0x0r.wolfo:

> I wouldn't put it quite as bluntly as Ridge but whether or not someone has done or hasn't done the required reading isn't generally going to be visible to a first timer at the wall. 

Yeah, I was a bit blunt on reflection. Apologies to JRS81.

In reply to JRS81:

> Yes, I have called out a climber friend who was talking about how different races are better suited to different sports. He had unwittingly fallen into the whole 'all black men are great runners' fallacy.

Obviously it's a nonsense to suggest that all black people are great runners, but since 1932 only five men's champions in the Olympic 100m have not had significant African heritage.  In the women's event, since 1980 African-American and Jamaican women have won the great majority of 100 m medals.  So was your friend's comment racism, or statistics?

If you're looking for racial stereotyping, you could start with some of the author's assumptions about white climbers' attitudes and behaviours.

4
In reply to JRS81:

> Specifically to your racist jokes question, no I have not, but if you are saying that climbers never tell racist jokes, then you're probably deluding yourself. 

Well there's a world of difference between that statement and the idea that if only we as climbers told less racist jokes there would be greater diversity in climbing.

This suggests that not only are they told but they're being overheard by ethnic minorities who are being disturbed and put off in such numbers that it is significantly impacting the overall representation of ethnic minorities in the sport. 

I don't actually think you believe this and you are clearly trying to defend a well meaning but horribly flawed article as best as you can. I admire the effort though.

3
In reply to Howard J:

> So was your friend's comment racism, or statistics?

Well to be fair, it's ignorance to assume that just because 0.001% of a certain category of person dominate a sport that they're *all* good at that sport. 

Surely you'd just point out the existence of fat people and amputees and that would be that right? 

1
 Maggot 25 Jun 2021
In reply to UKC Articles:

I know there are people on here who have a decent grasp on statistics ...

You quote percentages about Black/White involvement in physical activity as one of your supporting arguments. The Black sample size is 1.74% of the White sample size.  Now, even my total lack of understanding of stats has my marginofeorroometer hitting fsd!

edit: it would be interesting to read the original author's response to this thread.

Post edited at 17:33
 RobAJones 25 Jun 2021
In reply to Tom Valentine:

> Is access to a suitable venue affected by race or is it more of a socio-economic thing,?

Not sure. Just luck? It's not a major undertaking to cycle/walk from Kells or even Mirehouse to St. Bees. 

 fred99 25 Jun 2021
In reply to Howard J:

....  "Privilege" suggests additional advantages over and above that norm.  It is insulting and belittling to tell people who are severely disadvantaged that they are "privileged" just because others are even more disadvantaged.  There is some evidence that working class white boys, who perform worse in school than nearly every other group, are not being offered the same support as other groups because of their supposed "white privilege".

And then these same working class white boys get p*ssed off when they see non-whites who are identical in all other respects getting "preferential treatment". Thus they become easy targets to be indoctrinated into the racist groups that are around.

4
 JRS81 25 Jun 2021
In reply to Tom Valentine:

> Would you "call someone out" for  suggesting that black people are not good at swimming ?

Right, so here's some information that may help you understand why I'm so passionate on the subject. My grandmother is black. She took up swimming lessons in her eighties and now at the age of 90 is a regular at her local pool. The reason she didn't learn to swim is not because she's black and therefore not a good swimmer, it's that she was never given the opportunity.

This whole 'black people are bad swimmers' thing is just another widely spread fallacy. Black people who were taught to swim at a young age are just as good at swimming as any other human who learned at a young age. My grandmother is now a bloody good swimmer for a 90 year old!

 fred99 25 Jun 2021
In reply to VSisjustascramble:

> I just think times have changes.

> Back in the day you needed a rope, shoes and any protection that you can get your hands on.

> Now the primary entry route for people will be through walls. Wall membership often costs the same as a high end gym.

And who are promoting the idea that to start climbing you MUST go to a Wall, pay for instruction, hire or uy the "right" shoes, have a monthly membership, and then pay for instruction to go outdoors - isn't that idea coming from the Walls themselves in order to make money.

The old method - finding a club, having a go (on second), enjoying the countryside first rather than a (potentially) sweaty indoor arena, having a quiet drink (not necessarily alcoholic) and chat on the way home  - this is now poo-pooed by many, but certainly doesn't require anywhere near the same financial outlay, particularly as no-one knows whether they're going to really enjoy it UNTIL they've tried it.

 RobAJones 25 Jun 2021
In reply to fred99:

>There is some evidence that working class white boys, who perform worse in school than nearly every other group, are not being offered the same support as other groups because of their supposed "white privilege".

I am not disputing that disadvantaged white boys perform poorly (only travellers do worse?) but I didn't realise that ethnicity had any effect on the funding formula? 

 fred99 25 Jun 2021
In reply to JRS81:

> Yes, I have called out a climber friend who was talking about how different races are better suited to different sports. He had unwittingly fallen into the whole 'all black men are great runners' fallacy....

Isn't that actually insulting WHITE men rather than black ?

I was a pretty good runner back in the day, AAA's medallist in fact - and I'm WHITE ! Who knows how good I could have been if only I had been black ?   

6
 Maggot 25 Jun 2021
In reply to JRS81:

Now just to be crystal clear here, you're saying that White and Black are physically identical?
How do you explain illnesses like sickle cell, for example?
I'm sure I remember a study about sprinters' leg muscles, Black guys had a certain muscle group that that made them better sprinters.  The medal evidence is clearly out there!

7
 Tom Valentine 25 Jun 2021
In reply to JRS81:

>  The reason she didn't learn to swim is not because she's black and therefore not a good swimmer, it's that she was never given the opportunity.

I can't speak for your grandma's generation but if she was one generation lower , pushing seventy like me, in the UK she would have been given the same opportunity to learn to swim as I had. And yet my understanding is that even a generation down from your grandma, about 90% of the black population don't swim. I'm not saying they can't swim or are physically poor at swimming: they just don't swim. You say that's a consequence of lack of opportunity and while that might just apply to 90 year olds in the UK it doesn't apply to black seventy year olds.

Edit:

Swim England say that 80% of black UK children "do not swim". I'm not sure if this means "can't" or "aren't interested". Either way, I'd be surprised if you could use the "never had the opportunity" explanation with today's schoolkids because I would have thought they had  exactly the same chances to learn to swim as their white peers.

Post edited at 18:28
1
In reply to Tom Valentine:

It probably depends how they class “Do not swim”. I thought nearly all schoolkids had swimming lessons of some sort?

I wouldn't have thought a high percentage of the general population swim more than a couple of times a year anyway, and that's when they're on holiday.

I know a few people who are into open water swimming, and they only got into that because it's virtually impossible to simply go to a local pool for a swim, as it's booked solid with various classes and special swim sessions for most of the day.

 squashmiller 25 Jun 2021
In reply to UKC Articles: interesting reply to all these comments from Rachel on her personal Instagram (rachelkarma) tonight.

1
In reply to Justsomeclimber:

Which centre?

 Darcia101 25 Jun 2021
In reply to UKC Articles:

I think a lot of people in these comments seem to consider climbing as separate from the society that we live in, which it is not. Structural and institutional racism are issues that exist within British society (despite what the government says) and therefore, unless they are actively addressed and removed from climbing, they exist here too (whether you think racism is present in climbing or not).

Just like how classism is institutional, so is racism, and the concept of intersectionality in change addresses this. Shifting the conversation from lack of representation of people from different races participating in climbing to the lack of people from different classes participating in climbing in the comments doesn’t mean racism and exclusion based on race are no longer an issue in the sport. There is opportunity for both classism and racism to be addressed, as they are in this article, and it is not a demonstration of anti-racism to attribute the lack of representation entirely down to classism as some people have in the comments. Providing access to those who are prevented from climbing due to issues surrounding race doesn’t hurt people who are excluded due to class. 

Articles like this help to resist the presence of racism in climbing because they raise the issue and provide resources to help! Denying racism in climbing only furthers it’s presence in the sport.

18
 Tom Valentine 25 Jun 2021
In reply to Darcia101:

Welcome to UKC.

In reply to squashmiller:

At least it's raised her profile.

 finneyles 26 Jun 2021
In reply to squashmiller:

seems like the walls she frequents are shite. all the rhetorical questions she posted speak of ego more then anything else!

Post edited at 04:16
3
 Olaf Prot 26 Jun 2021
In reply to squashmiller:

Interesting in that she has such good counter arguments she chose to make them by spewing insults into her own echo chamber rather than coming on here? Her ranting says far more about her prejudices than it does about any (real or imagined) in climbing.

Separately I wonder if the BMC are happy with the   way one of their representatives, who wrote as such a representative and not in a personal capacity, is expressing themselves in response to legitimate criticism?

4
 RCS19 26 Jun 2021
In reply to UKC Articles:

I think this is amazing. Having climbed for many years I rarely see people who aren’t white. I have experienced multiple programs to get underprivileged youth (all white) into the sport but not any aimed at increasing our diversity. There is need for it. Without a pathway many won’t find a way. It is incredible to see this generation coming through making sure they help each other and not only caring about issues that directly affect them as individuals. 

5
In reply to RCS19:

Welcome to UKC.

 squashmiller 26 Jun 2021
In reply to Olaf Prot:

I find it disappointing she resorted to using the f word.

1
 Olaf Prot 26 Jun 2021
In reply to squashmiller:

Oh, and I found the “when did you last take your POC friends out climbing” hilarious rather than offensive. Firstly I didn’t know I had any “POC friends”, i just have, er, friends, and once I’d worked out what it meant , the prospect of asking  one of them to come out climbing with me “because they is black” was rather entertaining 

4
In reply to RCS19:

> It is incredible to see this generation coming through making sure they help each other and not only caring about issues that directly affect them as individuals. 

I feel truly privileged* to be alive at the only time in human history that young people have been altruistic and wanted to change things for the better...

 *No pun intended.

I don't doubt Rachel's good intentions, but do you really think that:

1. An initial article that assumes everyone reading it is part of the problem, and some simplistic ideas on how they should educate themselves;

2. A bit of a sweary rant at the “stupid old white” on instagram, plus an exhortation to followers to take on the “bigots and beards” and “UKC Trolls”;

3. Said followers appearing and make affirming statements to combat the enemy.

Is actually going to change attitudes in what, I assume, was her target audience? Since she posted the article in a professional capacity, did she not recognise her emotional reaction to the comments, take a bit of time to regain control, rationalise that her approach wasn't working and focus on a better way to get the message across?

Or did she just want to kick up a bit of a fuss as young, predominantly white, middle class graduates berate old, predominantly white, middle class graduates for their misdeeds? Does anyone care what the “POCs” think about the issue?

Anyhow, I wish Rachel well, and hope she understands that 30years from now she'll be the “old stupid white woman” who needs to educate herself.

It's the circle of life...

1
 Stichtplate 26 Jun 2021
In reply to UKC Articles:

Perhaps today's diversity programme developers should just copy what the diversity programme developers did in sports that successfully jumped from monochrome exclusivity to racially diverse inclusivity? 

In the spirit of addressing the diversity problem in climbing I've attempted to find out who these early paragons of diversity programme developers were in cricket and football, but I've drawn a complete blank! Perhaps team sports are different so I tried to source who the Hawaiian was who managed to diversify such an incredibly niche activity as surfing, but again nothing!

It's completely baffling, almost as if these sports naturally spread regardless of cultural, racial or environmental boundaries, just because people liked doing them. Admittedly this is probably not a popular concept with people employed as diversity programme developers.

2
In reply to Darcia101:

I don't think many people (if any) have disagreed with the basic premise of the article.  It is pretty obvious that non-white people are under-represented in climbing - whether to the extent she suggests is another matter, but I have been unable to find actual participation figures. 

The main issue with the article is its tone.  These are problems within society, rather than specific to climbing.  The obstacles BAME people face apply to participation in sports generally, some are economic rather than explicitly due to race (acknowledging that BAME may be disproportionately affected), and some are cultural from within those communities. I am not denying that some climbers may be racist, climbing reflects society as a whole, but implicitly accusing white climbers of not being welcoming and not understanding the issues (this after a year of Black Lives Matter, and similar articles on UKC) is not the way to win hearts and minds.

3
In reply to squashmiller:

> interesting reply to all these comments from Rachel on her personal Instagram (rachelkarma) tonight.

Very disappointing behaviour.  I have seen very little trolling in response to the article, mostly reasoned arguments. If she disagrees with what has been said on here, (which clearly she has been following) she should reply here and argue her case. Her dismissal of those who disagree with her as "trolls" and her insulting attitude towards them is not going to make anyone look at her article in a better light, or as I said in my last post, win hearts and minds over to her cause. 

1
In reply to Stichtplate:

> In the spirit of addressing the diversity problem in climbing I've attempted to find out who these early paragons of diversity programme developers were in cricket and football, but I've drawn a complete blank! 

Yes, football definitely doesn't have a racism problem.

 Stichtplate 26 Jun 2021
In reply to Howard J:

Also revealing that the author characterises all those that disagreed with her on here as "Old White Men", totally discounting the brown people of indeterminate age who've strongly disagreed with the tone of the article.

Rather disappointing that someone employed as a diversity programme developer should choose to ignore brown voices and employ racial epithets in response to a little online criticism.

1
 Stichtplate 26 Jun 2021
In reply to planetmarshall:

> Yes, football definitely doesn't have a racism problem.

You're confusing diversity in a sport with racism in a sport. Football doesn't have a diversity problem does it?

In reply to Stichtplate:

> You're confusing diversity in a sport with racism in a sport. Football doesn't have a diversity problem does it?

You can't possibly think that the two are unrelated. Put it this way, do you think that the behaviour of racist football fans is more, or less likely to encourage ethnic minorities to participate?

I get the argument you're trying to make, but football is a bizarre example to pick.

4
In reply to Stichtplate:

Cricket at least was talking about, and I assume making, specific outreach efforts to underrepresented groups 20 years back. This was in the context of looking at racism and diversity so it appears that the relevant bodies thought there was an issue. Although I doubt the same job titles existed then if that’s what you were searching for. 

 Stichtplate 26 Jun 2021
In reply to planetmarshall:

> You can't possibly think that the two are unrelated. Put it this way, do you think that the behaviour of racist football fans is more, or less likely to encourage ethnic minorities to participate?

I can only repeat the question; has football got a diversity problem?

> I get the argument you're trying to make, but football is a bizarre example to pick.

The sport is irrelevant. Racism is an endemic societal problem, not a sport specific one. 

In reply to Stichtplate:

> I can only repeat the question; has football got a diversity problem?

Raj Athwal thinks so.

https://www.theguardian.com/football/2018/jul/18/football-closed-shop-bame-raj-athwal-book

3
In reply to squashmiller:

Wow.  "Do some f*cking reading" ; & a reply saying UKC  is frequented by "gammons".

She asks: "How many times have you stepped in-front of a girl to try a climb, despite her waiting patiently, without even asking?" - never. Tho a high profile woman climber once pushed in front of ME to climb, despite the fact I'd been queuing with my (female; but irrelevant fact) partner for that route for 20 minutes.

"How many times have you told someone beta, before asking if they wanted it?" - very occasionally , if they're clearly struggling & i know the beta; but completely irrespective of race, age, gender or colour.

"How many times have you invited your POC friends to come and try out climbing?" - If one of my friends / colleagues seem interested in climbing, I'd ask them.  But I do not "check" their gender, colour or anything else first. They're just people/ friends?  Treat each as an individual rather than "checking" which "box" they're in first? 

"Old white men" ...... O.....K....... 

Post edited at 10:46
2
In reply to Phil Murray:

> "How many times have you invited your POC friends to come and try out climbing?"

What does POC stand for?

3
 Stichtplate 26 Jun 2021
In reply to planetmarshall:

> Raj Athwal thinks so.

Does he? He provides anecdotal evidence of difficulties securing off pitch football jobs, which he mainly attributes to Old Boy's Network type recruitment practices.

The article under discussion here is focused on diversity of participation. At the park or in the National squad, does football have problems with diversity of participation?

In reply to Robert Durran:

Person / people of colour. 

In reply to UKC Articles:

Really inspiring to see someone writing about this issue and trying to tackle the problem. The comments on this article really show how much work is needed, such a shame there are so many ignorant people here.

From my own anecdotal experience I can confirm I've seen or been told by female and POC climbers that the issues mentioned in this article aren't isolated to just you or a few around you.

Solidarity. 

17
In reply to Stichtplate:

> Does he? He provides anecdotal evidence of difficulties securing off pitch football jobs, which he mainly attributes to Old Boy's Network type recruitment practices.

> The article under discussion here is focused on diversity of participation. At the park or in the National squad, does football have problems with diversity of participation?

And from https://www.google.com/amp/s/versus.uk.com/2020/11/ive-fighting-diversity-football-will-ever-make-difference-fa-board-stays/amp/

"(FA Chairman Greg Clarke) referred to Black players as “coloured people”, put the lack of South Asian football players in England down to “different career interests”, claimed that homosexuality was a “life choice”, and said that girls don’t like playing football in case they get hit with the ball."

Yes, Football has a diversity problem.

Post edited at 11:14
 RobAJones 26 Jun 2021
In reply to Stichtplate:

> The article under discussion here is focused on diversity of participation. At the park or in the National squad, does football have problems with diversity of participation?

Far less than other sports. Around 5% of professional footballers were privately educated compared to about 6% of kids. For many sports 50% of elite participants were. 

 Stichtplate 26 Jun 2021
In reply to planetmarshall:

> The FA also thinks so, as it has a diversity code (as of last year)

> (FA Chairman Greg Clarke) referred to Black players as “coloured people”, put the lack of South Asian football players in England down to “different career interests”, claimed that homosexuality was a “life choice”, and said that girls don’t like playing football in case they get hit with the ball.

> Yes, Football has a diversity problem.

Again, you're confusing diversity of participation (what the UKC article is about) with racism in sport (what your argument is about).

Football doesn't have a problem with diversity of participation (as you well know because you studiously keep avoiding me repeatedly asking you about it), the article and this thread is about diversity of participation. 

 Tom Valentine 26 Jun 2021
In reply to GildrodDavidson:

Calling people you disagree with ignorant - not the best way to get them alongside. If you were ever really bothered, that is.

Post edited at 11:17
2
 Stichtplate 26 Jun 2021
In reply to RobAJones:

> Far less than other sports. Around 5% of professional footballers were privately educated compared to about 6% of kids. For many sports 50% of elite participants were. 

Yep, rather my point.

In reply to Stichtplate:

> Football doesn't have a problem with diversity of participation (as you well know because you studiously keep avoiding me repeatedly asking you about it), the article and this thread is about diversity of participation. 

I haven't avoided it in the least. Football has a diversity problem. How many British Asian players can you name? How many openly gay players?

2
In reply to Stichtplate:

> In the spirit of addressing the diversity problem in climbing I've attempted to find out who these early paragons of diversity programme developers were in cricket and football, but I've drawn a complete blank! 

Re cricket, here's an article from the Daily Mail describing the diversity problem at county level.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/cricket/article-8765051/Crickets-race-shame-Sportsmail-investigation-reveals-county-crickets-shocking-diversity-problem.html

In reply to Maggot:

> I'm sure I remember a study about sprinters' leg muscles, Black guys had a certain muscle group that that made them better sprinters.  The medal evidence is clearly out there!

If you're looking at elite track athletes, you're looking at a tiny sample of a tiny sample of a tiny sample - I wouldn't be confident of making any statistical inferences from the dominance of black athletes on the track. If on the other hand you choose *from that group* - you will naturally find some kind of physiological advantage.

Put it this way, 99.99...% of black people - to say nothing of the vast genetic diversity among those of recent black African descent - are not medal winning sprinters.

 RobAJones 26 Jun 2021
In reply to planetmarshall:

I am agreeing that both football and cricket have issues. My experience (granted it was over twenty years ago) of overt racism in football, even between team mates was horrendous. I think you have illustrated that participation rates at various levels are no indication of the underlying problems, 15% of professional footballers are black compared to 3% of the general population?

With climbing I am inclined to think that location/access/opportunity are the main issue. It's only personal experience, but having worked in several school North Cumbria only two members of staff were POC. One of those wild swims and boulders. I only really know four others, two through climbing/kayaking and two I play cricket with. 

In reply to planetmarshall:

> "FA Chairman Greg Clarke) referred to Black players as “coloured people”

For someone of his generation, "coloured people" (or "negro") were the politically correct forms, and to call someone "black" would have been considered highly offensive.  Somewhere along the way this has completely reversed.  Nevertheless someone in his position should have been more aware, and the overall tone of his comments was such that he had to go.  (I'm still not sure why "coloured people" is offensive but "people of colour" is not. Maybe someone should tell the NAACP.)

The diversity issues in football and cricket appear to be ingrained in those sports' administrative structures.  Climbing is not organised in the same way, if you can say it is organised at all, and the original article does not identify any structural obstacles within the 'sport' itself. 

The other difference with these sports is that climbing has traditionally not actively tried very hard to increase participation numbers, partly because of the risks and partly because organic growth is already sufficient to put pressure on limited and finite resources.  However it is perhaps worth pointing out that one of its highest-profile advocates, the broadcaster Mary-Ann Ochota, is mixed-race.

2
In reply to RobAJones:

> I think you have illustrated that participation rates at various levels are no indication of the underlying problems, 15% of professional footballers are black compared to 3% of the general population?

I think that this illustrates one of the problems with the 'BAME' label (and labels in general) when trying to discuss the issue of diversity - and what we even mean by diversity.

A few black faces on the football pitch does not mean that football does not have a diversity problem - commentators on the political right, when talking about diversity in sport, or in the workplace, often talk about the desire for "equality of opportunity" versus "equality of outcome". While I think that sometimes they oversimplify the issue, this is something it's hard not to agree with. 15% of professional footballers being black is an outcome, it doesn't mean we shouldn't strive to ensure that everyone who wants to participate in a sport has the opportunity to do so and are not discouraged by systemic issues. Especially in a sport as culturally significant to the UK as football.

As for climbing, well, it's a niche sport. It will never have the participation rates of football and so I echo the comments of Howard J in wondering to what degree its diversity issues can be put down to the sport itself rather than issues in society at large - particularly the very different demographics in the UK in rural areas where the bulk of (outdoor) climbing takes place.

That said, efforts to increase womens participation in the sport have certainly been successful (and have been very welcome) - but then, women are not a minority.

In reply to Howard J:

> For someone of his generation, "coloured people" (or "negro") were the politically correct forms, and to call someone "black" would have been considered highly offensive.  Somewhere along the way this has completely reversed.  Nevertheless someone in his position should have been more aware, and the overall tone of his comments was such that he had to go.

Yes indeed, I'm old enough to not find the reference to "coloured people" quite so jarring as his other comments.

 GrahamD 26 Jun 2021
In reply to planetmarshall:

>  Football has a diversity problem. How many British Asian players can you name?

I have a problem with statements like this.  Why is it a "problem" that British Asians (including far East Asians) don't chose football but prefer to do so.ething else ?  I mean, if you look at the England side you could conclude that white kids are propotionally underrepresented. 

Thinking of my local wall, I would say Far Eastern Asians are way "over represented".  Is this indicative of a "problem" somewhere ? 

1
In reply to GrahamD:

> I have a problem with statements like this.  Why is it a "problem" that British Asians (including far East Asians) don't chose football but prefer to do so.ething else ? 

It's a good question. So an analogy - I wonder if people applied the same argument to the representation of women in the police force in the 20th century? Up until the 1970s there were very few female police officers, in 2020 the proportion stood at around 31%.

Did women suddenly start deciding to become police officers? Or was there a concerted effort, over many years, to tackle the systemic and institutionalised sexism that deterred women from joining the police force? I don't think that it's particularly controversial to state that it was the latter, and that it is a good thing to have representation of different genders and ethnic groups in law enforcement.

Now obviously, representation in law enforcement and other state institutions is a rather more serious issue than in recreational activities - but I still think it's important. It's part of our culture, and last time I checked the participation (or lack) of ethnic and religious minorities in our culture was a serious issue particularly for the political right wing which currently dominates our government and print media. Perhaps we should try to do something about it.

 Stichtplate 26 Jun 2021
In reply to planetmarshall:

> A few black faces on the football pitch does not mean that football does not have a diversity problem - commentators on the political right, when talking about diversity in sport, or in the workplace, often talk about the desire for "equality of opportunity" versus "equality of outcome". While I think that sometimes they oversimplify the issue, this is something it's hard not to agree with. 15% of professional footballers being black is an outcome, it doesn't mean we shouldn't strive to ensure that everyone who wants to participate in a sport has the opportunity to do so and are not discouraged by systemic issues. Especially in a sport as culturally significant to the UK as football.

So to sum up: evidence of diversity in football participation isn't actually evidence of diversity in participation in football because you, for some unfathomable reason, think there's a problem in diversity of participation in football.

I can only conclude that you've never walked past Sunday league pitches in ethnically diverse areas and you don't actually know any black kids. If you do know any, try asking them "what racial barriers hinder you participating in a game of footie?"... but be prepared for them looking at you like you've just sprouted an extra head.

In reply to Stichtplate:

> So to sum up: evidence of diversity in football participation isn't actually evidence of diversity in participation in football because you, for some unfathomable reason, think there's a problem in diversity of participation in football.

I attempted to explain why I thought there was a diversity problem in football, as clearly as I could.

I reiterated the absence of British Asian participation, as described by many commentators 

(see https://www.theguardian.com/football/2020/jul/06/why-are-british-asian-footballers-still-regarded-as-a-gamble-by-many-clubs for a summary).

I also mentioned the absence of openly gay players - see for example this article from The Sun - 

(https://www.thesun.co.uk/sport/12091549/gay-footballer-premier-league-letter/)

If you find this reasoning unfathomable, I'm afraid I can't clarify it any further, and perhaps you and I just have a different idea of what diversity is.

1
 GrahamD 26 Jun 2021
In reply to planetmarshall:

I'd say that representation in government and law enforcement is important because they do a job for the whole population and need the buy in from the whole population.   I see this as very different to what people chose as their leisure activities. 

In reply to GrahamD:

> I'd say that representation in government and law enforcement is important because they do a job for the whole population and need the buy in from the whole population.   I see this as very different to what people chose as their leisure activities. 

I agree, but I see the participation in leisure activities as less important rather than unimportant. I think it's difficult to draw conclusions from the participation rates of something like climbing because it's such a niche sport. Sports like football on the other hand have huge participation rates and if they do not reflect the demographics of the population at large I do not think it's unreasonable to dig deeper to see if there are systemic reasons for that - and if so to make some attempt to tackle those issues.

 Olaf Prot 26 Jun 2021
In reply to GrahamD:

In the spirit of genuine enquiry, why do people need to be "represented" by someone who looks like them? When I vote, I vote for the politician who best reflects my politics, not because of the colour of their skin. Suggesting that they "need the buy in from the whole population" seems to mean that the population is racist?!

4
In reply to UKC Articles:

The thing is that for most of us climbing is just something we do with a few friends, like others might go to the pub or to the park for a kick-around or game of frisbee, or for a picnic.  Should I feel to blame if the ethnic mix at the pub or the park isn't representative? I don't think so.

Climbing walls are businesses, and larger businesses are expected to make efforts to increase diversity amongst their boards and staff (although small businesses are usually excused).  They are not usually expected to ensure similar diversity amongst their customers, and this is certainly not considered to be the responsibility of their existing customers.  So should I be made to feel responsible? Again, I don't think so, especially as I visit a wall only rarely.

I have zero interest in climbing competitions and feel zero responsibility towards what happens there.

I have some sympathy with what she is trying to achieve through her programme, but her attitude towards people like me (implicit in the article and explicit in her Instagram responses) is not likely to persuade me to support her.

2
In reply to Olaf Prot:

> In the spirit of genuine enquiry, why do people's book need to be "represented" by someone who looks like them? When I vote, I vote for the politician who best reflects my politics, not because of the colour of their skin. Suggesting that they "need the buy in from the whole population" seems to mean that the population is racist?!

People are tribal, yes. I don't think that's a particularly controversial idea. We can try to be intellectually objective but it's hard to fight against tens of thousands of years of evolution.

Consider for example a post in the thread which reiterated the popular idea that "black guys have bigger muscles" (or words to that effect) - an observation based on the miniscule proportion of the black population that participates in elite sport. Daniel Kahneman's book "Thinking Fast and Slow" talks about the different parts of the brain that make these judgements - the "instinctive" part of the brain versus the "analytical" part.

 RobAJones 26 Jun 2021
In reply to planetmarshall:

> As for climbing, well, it's a niche sport. It will never have the participation rates of football and so I echo the comments of Howard J in wondering to what degree its diversity issues can be put down to the sport itself rather than issues in society at large - particularly the very different demographics in the UK in rural areas where the bulk of (outdoor) climbing takes place.

Which is why I'm not sure that looking at participation rates is particularly useful as a meaningful measure. 

> That said, efforts to increase womens participation in the sport have certainly been successful (and have been very welcome) - but then, women are not a minority.

Yep, but whereas nearly all the kids in North Cumbria are white only just over half are girls (other areas are available) Most will agree that the increased participation by women is great, but has it changed or intrenched existing climbers views? A sport like boxing almost certainly has it's issues. Increasing the proportion of black boxers will do little to convince me they are addressing theses issues. 

 Dave Hewitt 26 Jun 2021
In reply to Howard J:

> I'm still not sure why "coloured people" is offensive but "people of colour" is not.

This has seemed a particular oddity for quite a while, although it's probably an example of something that my better half - a professional linguist - has said many times: language evolves. A clear example is that not so long ago one of the most offensive ways you could describe someone was "brown", but now (as used upthread here several times) it's deemed OK. There's a fair chance - quite likely, really - that various currently correct words and phrases such as brown will be disapproved of before too long.

Re the football/cricket thing, I have far more interest in the latter and don't know much about football at all (although come on Wales!), but I'm not sure they're very similar in these terms. There's certainly a pretty high incidence of Asian involvement in club cricket here in Scotland - eg within the past couple of hours I've driven past the Clackmannanshire ground and was pleased to see (given Covid restrictions) that a match was under way. And from what I could see en passant, a considerable proportion of the fielding side was of Indian or Pakistani origin, which is pretty normal for Scotland despite the relatively low numbers of such people in the general population.

And talking of "en passant", the discussion about black swimmers has similarities with the age-old question of why hardly any mega-strong chess players are women. Only Judit Polgar has ever broken into the world top ten, and even she didn't come really close to getting a shot at the world title. Only two other women have ever been in the world top 100, and the present FIDE top 100 comprises 99 men and Hou Yifan. There are plenty of very strong women chess players around - arguably the strongest player in Scotland these past few years is female - but in terms of pushing on to the ultra-elite level it's not (yet) happened. This has led to endless nature/nurture-type discussions as you might imagine, and while societal factors are certainly in play to an extent (eg promising girl players in the UK are known to often drift away in their mid-teens due to the uncoolness of being seen around nerdy chess-obsessed boys), it's surely not just that. Had the USSR in former times, or China latterly, unearthed what appeared to be a Karpov- or Kasparov-strength child with world champion potential and who just happened to be female, they would absolutely have thrown major resources at her to aid progress and development. But for whatever reason, that has never happened - or at least when the major resources have been thrown, they've not propelled the girl/woman to the absolute summit of the game.

Post edited at 15:13
 GrahamD 26 Jun 2021
In reply to Olaf Prot:

> In the spirit of genuine enquiry, why do people need to be "represented" by someone who looks like them? When I vote, I vote for the politician who best reflects my politics, not because of the colour of their skin. Suggesting that they "need the buy in from the whole population" seems to mean that the population is racist?!

Actually I was thinking more in terms of serial equality, there, but I think to be effective the bodies of state also need to be seen to be diverse and inclusive in order to be effective.

In reply to UKC Articles:

I've read the article again in an attempt to take on board its wider points and I'm struggling with this bit:

"[Black people] want you to do better, to educate yourself, to listen and learn.

...

Please don't go and ask your friends of colour what you can do better — ask your white friends what we can do better."

It feels like a bit of a mixed message.

3
In reply to Shani:

I wouldn't attempt to second guess what black people want, beyond what any of us want regardless of racial background.

I do think that the notion of educating oneself, striving to do better and listening and learning from the opinions of others is fairly uncontroversial.

In reply to planetmarshall:

> I do think that the notion of educating oneself, striving to do better and listening and learning from the opinions of others is fairly uncontroversial.

Agreed. I'm happy with that bit. It's the request to listen and learn to Black people but to not ask your friends of colour what you can do better.

1
In reply to Howard J:

> "I have some sympathy with what she is trying to achieve through her programme, but her attitude towards people like me (implicit in the article and explicit in her Instagram responses) is not likely to persuade me to support her." 

- this is *exactly* how her article made me feel, too. The directives at the end, in particular, grated. 

2
 Alex Hallam 27 Jun 2021
In reply to gooberman-hill:

Totally agree with this, no one wants to engage in a discussion without fear of being labelled something they quite clearly aren't. So thanks for saying it.

I don't get it, climbing has always been a bit of a niche 'sport' or adventurous past time, whichever way you look at it. But I have never ever met a community that is more engaging, encouraging and supportive.

I would say more, but will probably get labelled. Maybe some stereotyped 'groups' just aren't that interested? Same in golf, horse riding and cycling? 

In reply to Olaf Prot:

> Separately I wonder if the BMC are happy with the way one of their representatives, who wrote as such a representative and not in a personal capacity, is expressing themselves in response to legitimate criticism?

I thought it was only wokeist snowflake SJWs who tried to "cancel" people and get them sacked?

2
In reply to TobyA:

> I thought it was only wokeist snowflake SJWs who tried to "cancel" people and get them sacked?

I've just read the responses on Instagram. There's little attempt to engage with the genuine & specific criticisms here, strawman arguments abound (contrary to what appears on Insta the theme here is definitely supportive of improving diversity in climbing), ad homs dominate with contributers here dismissed as 'old white men'. PlanetMarshall & Alex Barrows have offered robust feedback. 

I'd like to see Rachel back here to respond on the points raised and to see if alliances can be built to fulfil her vision of diversity. 

1
In reply to Shani:

I think both the bulk of the comments here and the comments on Rachel's instagram post can be read really quite differently from how you are describing them here. I'm not saying you're wrong and I'm right, but just we  bring out own worldviews and perspectives to how we see things.

> I'd like to see Rachel back here to respond on the points raised and to see if alliances can be built to fulfil her vision of diversity. 

It does rather feel that the majority of the posts here are telling her that her vision of diversity is wrong, or that there are perfectly good reasons for the levels of ethnic minority involvement in British climbing to be as they are.

I'm an "old white man", well a middle aged white man anyway, but don't feel in the slightest bit "dismissed", or upset, or angered by people using that term. I'm slightly amused by the umbrage some seem to have taken over it!

9
In reply to TobyA:

> I'm an "old white man", well a middle aged white man anyway, but don't feel in the slightest bit "dismissed", or upset, or angered by people using that term. I'm slightly amused by the umbrage some seem to have taken over it!

Given the nature of the OP, a racially based ad hominem seems inappropriate. I'd rather the ideas were the focus of any response.

Post edited at 18:20
In reply to TobyA:

> I think both the bulk of the comments here and the comments on Rachel's instagram post can be read really quite differently from how you are describing them here. I'm not saying you're wrong and I'm right, but just we  bring out own worldviews and perspectives to how we see things.

Quite possibly, but all the more reason for her to have come back here to debate the issue rather than complain about it on an entirely different forum.

What's the point of writing an article like this if not to open a discussion?  Or were we supposed to gratefully accept her pearls of wisdom without question?

 Stichtplate 27 Jun 2021
In reply to TobyA:

> I'm an "old white man", well a middle aged white man anyway, but don't feel in the slightest bit "dismissed", or upset, or angered by people using that term. I'm slightly amused by the umbrage some seem to have taken over it!

Cool, you're fine with it. Personally I'd prefer a world where social discourse is conducted without recourse to stock phrase pejoratives based on age, sex and gender.

In reply to Shani:

>... see if alliances can be built to fulfil her vision of diversity. 

I've recently come across the Black Cyclists Network. They seem to have a similar objective and their mission statement is something that i think will lead to a positive outcome:

"At the Black Cyclists Network (BCN), Our aim is to connect cyclists from Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) background. We also want to use our platform to encourage people of colour to take up cycling. We are a majority BAME club, But don’t let that put you off. We are an inclusive group. We welcome supporters and members from all backgrounds who share our vision."

https://www.blackcyclistsnetwork.cc

Post edited at 19:13
 Yanis Nayu 27 Jun 2021
In reply to Shani:

I know it’s a minor point, but why does black get a capital letter and white doesn’t? 


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